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What is Due Process and How Does it Affect My Case?


Criminal Defense Attorneys Protecting Rights to Due Process througout New Mexico

lady justiceDue process is highly complicated, especially in terms of criminal law. Your rights under due process are established through the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution, but rights are also extended in the 14th Amendment.

What the 5th Amendment Grants You?

Under the 5th Amendment, you cannot be deprived of “…life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This phrase alone has been the premises for multiple lawsuits in the state of New Mexico, as well as the country. Over the past few decades, due process rights have certainly evolved, but the concept is still the same: You cannot be deprived of your constitutional rights.

However, it is important that you realize what due process is as well as what you are granted under procedural due process versus substantive due process.

What is Substantive Due Process?

Substantive due process is broader than procedural due process. These relate to your protections from any violations of your fundamental constitutional rights. These are the rights set forth in the United States Constitution as well as the Amendments that apply. Your rights may also be extended by the states, but they cannot be reduced by any state lower than what the United States Constitution grants you.

What is Procedural Due Process?

This is where more constitutional rights issues occur in a criminal case. Procedural due process addresses the requirements that protect your fundamental rights as well. Within the Rules of Criminal Procedure, there are protections of your procedural rights. Often, procedural due process starts before your trial and begins during the criminal investigation with law enforcement.

Some procedural due process steps include your right to a speedy trial, search and seizure issues, double jeopardy, confessions, Miranda warnings and waiving rights, and more.

Your procedural due process rights cover the mundane topics that are necessary, such as:

  • An adequate notice of charges;
  • Timing of charges;
  • The statute of limitations;
  • Identification of witnesses;
  • The disclosure of evidence for each side; and
  • The burden of proof of the prosecution.

Due Process Rights Continually Evolve

Due process is set in stone, but still adjusts to reflect the times. While you cannot have your rights reduced from what is stated in the Constitution, states and the federal government can expand your due process rights based on the growing tensions between the community, law enforcement, prosecutors, and more. Essentially, due process is what gives you the rights that protect you from unlawful charges and criminal procedures.

Were Your Due Process Rights Violated? You May Have a Case

If your due process rights were violated, your defense attorney may be able to use that information to dismiss evidence or have the charges dropped. Only a New Mexico criminal defense attorney can accurately assess your due process rights and potential violations. Therefore, if you need representation, contact New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today at 505-375-4671 for a free consultation. You can also contact an attorney online.