Criminal Defendants

A person arrested and charged with a crime is the defendant in a criminal court case. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty, either by their decision to plead guilty or by a verdict of guilty rendered by a judge or jury at the end of a trial.

Criminal defendants have the right to hire a licensed attorney of their choice to present a defense, if they choose, and to advocate for their constitutional rights. If a defendant cannot afford a private attorney, a lawyer from the local public defenders’ office will be provided upon order of the court.

The court also will provide language interpreters for criminal defendants unable to communicate in English.