A defendant is a person or entity who has been named in a lawsuit or who is being criminally prosecuted. The party being sued in a civil lawsuit is known as the defendant, and the party filing the lawsuit is known as the plaintiff. The person accused of committing a felony or misdemeanor criminal offense is the defendant in a criminal case. The accused person has the right to defend against the allegations and confront their accuser.
A criminal defendant has the constitutional right to the assistance of a lawyer. The court will provide a public defender if the defendant is unable to hire a privately retained criminal defense attorney. Although a criminal defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty, the system often makes defendants feel persecuted. A strong defense attorney can help turn the tables and give the defendant an advantage in court.