Void-For-Vagueness Doctrine

Since the due process clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution requires that persons must be on notice that certain conduct is forbidden, the Supreme Court has held that criminal statutes be specific, and give a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice of what conduct is prohibited.  Criminal statutes that do not meet this requirement are void under the “void-for-vagueness doctrine.”  This doctrine also requires that statutes are fair and consistent in their enforcement and they may not be arbitrarily enforced.

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