defense attorney

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Defense attorney, also known as a defense lawyer, is an attorney representing a defendant in a lawsuit or criminal prosecution. Attorneys representing a defendant in a criminal case are formally referred to as “criminal defense attorneys.” In both civil and criminal cases, a defense attorney represents the defendant in court. 

A defense attorney is normally hired directly by the defendant and the attorney represents the defendant throughout the legal process, including trial. However, in criminal cases if a defendant cannot afford a lawyer, a defense attorney called a public defender is provided to the defendant by the court for representation.  

See: criminal attorney

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]