What is criminal defense law?

In a criminal case, the state, through a prosecutor, initiates the suit, while in a civil case the victim brings the suit. Persons convicted of a crime may be incarcerated, fined, or both. Criminal defense attorneys represent clients who have been accused of committing a crime, and defend their rights at each stage of a misdemeanor or felony case -- from an arrest to an appeal after conviction. Criminal defense attorneys may be hired privately or provided by the government (called "public defenders").