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