void-for-vagueness doctrine

noun

Legal Definition of void-for-vagueness doctrine

: a doctrine requiring that a penal statute define a criminal offense with sufficient definiteness that ordinary people can understand what conduct is prohibited and in a manner that does not encourage arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement

Note: Under the void-for-vagueness doctrine, a vague law is a violation of due process because the law does not provide fair warning of a prohibition and fails to set standards for enforcement that would govern the exercise of the police power.

Learn More about void-for-vagueness doctrine

Cite this Entry

“Void-for-vagueness doctrine.” Merriam-Webster.com Legal Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/legal/void-for-vagueness%20doctrine. Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

Comments on void-for-vagueness doctrine

What made you want to look up void-for-vagueness doctrine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!