Term of the Day

Criminal Defendant

Definition - What does Criminal Defendant mean?

The criminal defendant is the person who has allegedly committed a crime. Under the U.S. Bill of Rights a defendant has certain rights, and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The state also has the burden to provide evidence to the court to prove the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Additional rights of a criminal defendant include the right to remain silent, to confront witnesses, to have a speedy and public trial, to be tried by a group of peers, to receive adequate legal representation and to not be tried for the same criminal offense twice.

If the state proves the defendant is guilty and they are convicted of the crime, in some cases, the defendant may appeal the case to a higher court. Penalties for criminal cases can include probation, a prison sentence, fines or other types of restitution.

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