The rules of criminal procedure are set down to guarantee constitutional due process to those individuals charged with a crime. Because a person charged with a crime can be subjected to a loss of liberty, fines, and the loss of certain civil rights, the rules of criminal procedure should be strictly followed. Failure to follow these rules that guarantee certain constitutional rights can result in a conviction being reversed and the charges dismissed. The trend in law today is to retreat from that position as the rights of the state and victims are being given more weight in the balancing of the two positions.
The difference between civil procedure and criminal procedure is fairly straightforward. In criminal matters, action is taken by the "state" (a federal, state or local government agency) against an individual or an organization (including, but not limited to, a group of individuals, "business" or other entity) for violation of law. In a civil matter, the controversy is between two or more "people" (including individuals, businesses or government agencies). The rules of civil procedure are different from that of criminal procedure because the results and objectives of the litigation differ.