Legal Dictionary

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Criminal Defense

A person accused of a crime against the state becomes a criminal defendant. A criminal defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. In other words, the state or the prosecution has the burden of proving the crime against the defendant. The process of defending against criminal charges or accusations is criminal defense. Although criminal defendants have a right to represent themselves, they are generally represented either by a private criminal defense attorney or a public defender. An attorney who specializes in representing clients in criminal court will usually describe his area of legal practice as “criminal defense.”