Criminal procedure refers to the rules that determine how the courts will process a criminal trial. While criminal procedure differs by jurisdiction, the process generally begins with a formal criminal charge and results in the conviction or acquittal of the defendant.
Many countries have a democratic system and use the rule of law. There are a number of common principles. In a criminal case the burden of proof is on the prosecution. That means it is up to the prosecution to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. This is opposed to having the defendant prove he or she is innocent. It also means any doubt is resolved in favor of the defendant. This provision is known as the presumption of innocence. If charged with a felony, defendants have the following basic rights:
- "Criminal procedure". WebFinance, Inc. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
- "Criminal Procedure". Encyclopedia.com/Cengage Learning. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
- "Criminal Trials – Who Has the Burden of Proof?". Lawyers.com. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
- David C. Brody; James R. Acker, Criminal Law (Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2010), p. 21
- "presumption of innocence". Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
- "Rule 5. Initial Appearance". Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 22 October 2015.