Criminal procedural law

Criminal procedural law refers to the set of rules governing the group of procedures through which the government imposes substantive criminal law. Municipalities, states, and the federal government each have their own criminal codes, which define the types of conduct that constitute crimes.

What is criminal procedural law?

It is the branch of law that consists of the set of legal rules that regulate the actions of the courts and their parts that are responsible for deciding when some type of sanction should be imposed.

The Criminal Procedure Act regulates the ways in which alleged offenders are arrested, charged and tried; the imposition of sanctions on convicted offenders; and introduces methods to challenge the legality of the conviction after the trial has taken place. Litigation in this area often deals with conflicts of fundamental importance to the allocation of power between the state and its citizens.

About criminal procedural law

When we talk about criminal procedural matters, we must think that it is the right way to generate some kind of sanction or a security measure. This process begins at the moment the news comes that someone did not comply with the rule, so a sanction should be generated. The way to achieve this is known as the preparatory stage and then moves on to a second stage known as the accusation and trial stage.

Prosecutors and defendants are the ones who must travel this path together with the court. Therefore, this group of different stages aimed at achieving a decision by the court to know whether or not a sanction should be applied to the accused, this process is called Criminal Process. Previously, the criminal process was known by the names of trial, litigation and file.

The stages of the criminal process are composed of a set of acts, and the acts established by law performed by the parties and the court within a stage of the criminal process are called Criminal Procedure.


The main features of criminal procedural law are as follows:

Legal nature

The legal nature of criminal procedural law is the process. This nature is based on purely scientific criteria following an order of elaboration. We can then say that it has a legal character, and for the people who intervene in it there is a series of legal relationships, duties and obligations, which are determined by law.


The antecedents of criminal procedural law are based on the criminal rights that originated in Greece and Rome, in the canonical process, in the common or mixed criminal process, in the reformed process and in the modern codification of civilized peoples.

History of criminal procedural law

Criminal procedural law has its origins in the people of Greece. At first it was merely an accusatory process. It was later adopted and developed extensively by the Romans. It was based on accusing the citizens and on the fact that the judge was not a representative of the State.


The main objective of criminal procedural law is to establish the legal norms that should regulate any criminal process from the beginning to the end of the process. In addition, to study the fair and impartial administration of justice, the different activities of judges and the laws behind sentences. It is also responsible for investigating, identifying and establishing sanctions for the conduct that constitutes the crimes. Its objective is thus related to public order.


The main source of criminal law is the law that must be presented immediately and supreme. The doctrine is a secondary source but is not mandatory. Jurisprudence is considered as a mediate source and the judge should not refuse it. The last of the sources related to this type of law is custom, which occurs in some countries under the common law system.

Principles of criminal procedural law

The main principles of criminal procedural law are as follows:


The purpose of criminal procedural law is aimed at proving or denature the existence of a particular crime. This type of right seeks to prove whether the crime was committed or not and this is done through positive or negative certainty. If the existence of the crime appears, the purpose of the right will be to establish the legal consequences and sanctions for the offender.

Importance of criminal procedural law

The importance of criminal procedural law lies in the fact that it is through it that the guarantees and fundamental rights established in the laws that govern the order of a given country, and in the treaties or conventions that form part of the internal regulations of a country, are respected. It is thanks to criminal procedural law that the guarantees and fundamental rights of citizens are respected.


Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Criminal procedural law. Recovered on 23 February, 2024, de Euston96:

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