Defendant

– In a civil case, the person or organization against whom the plaintiff brings suit; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.

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Additional Sources

Duhaime Legal Dictionary

The individual, company or organization who defends a legal action taken by a plaintiff and against whom the court has been asked to order damages or specific corrective action redress some type of unlawful or improper action alleged by the plaintiff.

Law.com Dictionary

The party sued in a civil lawsuit or the party charged with a crime in a criminal prosecution. In some types of cases (such as divorce) a defendant may be called a respondent.

Lawyers.com

The party against whom a criminal or civil action is brought.

Lect Law Library

In criminal cases, the person accused of the crime. In civil matters, the person or organization that is being sued.

The person against whom a lawsuit is filed is usually called the defendant. In some states, or in certain types of actions, the defendant is called the respondent. The term respondent is also used to designate the person responding to an appeal.

At common law a defendant cannot have judgment to recover a sum of money of the plaintiff, but this rule is, in some cases, altered by statute.

Legal-Dictionary.org

A person who is charged with a crime in a criminal case, or who has a claim against them in a civil case.

The Free (Legal) Dictionary

The person defending or denying; the party against whom relief or recovery is sought in an action or suit, or the accused in a criminal case.

In every legal action, whether civil or criminal, there are two sides. The person suing is the plaintiff and the person against whom the suit is brought is the defendant. In some instances, there may be more than one plaintiff or defendant.

Wikipedia

A defendant or defender (? in legal shorthand) is any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff or pursuer in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute.

A defendant in a civil action usually makes his or her first court appearance voluntarily in response to a summons, whereas a defendant in a criminal case is often taken into custody by police and brought before a court, pursuant to an arrest warrant. The actions of a defendant, and its lawyer counsel, is known as the defense.

A respondent is the parallel term used in a proceeding which is commenced by petition.

A defendant is anyone tried under the court of law as the ones who have committed the crime. Historically, a defendant in a civil action could also be taken into custody pursuant to a writ of capias ad respondendum and forced to post bail before being released from custody. However, a modern day defendant in a civil action is usually able to avoid most (if not all) court appearances if he or she is represented by a lawyer whereas a defendant in a criminal case (particularly a felony or indictment) is usually obliged to post bail before being released from custody and must be present at every stage thereafter of the proceedings against him or her (they often may have their lawyer appear instead, especially for very minor cases, such as traffic offenses in jurisdictions which treat them as crimes). If found guilty, or if the defendant reaches a plea bargain or other settlement with the prosecution, the defendant receives a sentence from the presiding judge. This sentence, however, does not necessarily include the full punishment: social stigma of prosecution and collateral consequences of criminal charges may still affect the defendant.