Definition of defense
From the French défense, itself from Latin defensa, "protection".
- (RP) IPA: /dɛˈfɛns/
- (US) IPA: /diˈfɛns/
- Audio (US) [?]
- Rhymes: -ɛns
defense (plural defenses) (US)
- The action of defending or protecting from attack, danger, or injury.
- An argument in support or justification of something.
- Government policy or structure related to the military.
Department of Defense
In civil proceedings and criminal prosecutions under the common law, a defendant may raise a defense (or defence) in an attempt to avoid criminal or civil liability. Besides contesting the accuracy of any allegation made against him or her in a criminal or civil proceeding, a defendant may also make allegations against the prosecutor or plaintiff or raise a defense, arguing that, even if the allegations against the defendant are true, the defendant is nevertheless not liable.
Since a defense is raised by the defendant in a direct attempt to avoid what would otherwise result in liability, the defendant typically holds the burden of proof. For example, if a defendant in an assault and battery case attempts to claim provocation, the victim of said assault and battery would not have to prove that he did not provoke the plaintiff; the defendant would have to prove that the plaintiff did.
Civil law defenses
In common law, a defendant may raise any of the numerous defenses to limit or avoid liability. These include:
In addition to defenses against prosecution and liability, a defendant may also raise a defense of [[justification] - such as self-defense and defense of others or defence of property.
- Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.