Criminal justice attorneys are people who have gone to law school and passed a test to work in the United States’ Criminal Justice System. Criminal justice attorneys are capable of representing the state (the US) or the defendant (the person being charged) during the proceedings of a criminal trial. Criminal justice lawyers must be licensed through the state bar in the state in which they are practicing criminal law. They can also choose to act as prosecutors (for the state) or criminal defense lawyers (for the defendant). Once you choose, you can switch, but you cannot perform both duties at the same time.
What does a criminal prosecutor do?
Criminal prosecutors represent the state, and build up a case against the defendant, or the accused. In the United States Criminal Justice System, the defendant is considered innocent until he or she is proven guilty by the prosecutors. Prosecutors bear the burden of proof because they must prove that the defendant is “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Criminal justice attorney who choose to be prosecutors typically only get involved with a case when the suspect has been found and charges have been filed against him. Prosecutors are employed by the state or federal government, and their job is to prove criminals are guilty in order to keep US citizens safe from dangerous people.
Criminal prosecutors’ responsibilities can include many different things. The most important roles include choosing to file criminal charges or not against a specific suspect, gathering information about cases and evidence to determine whether or not their is a case, choosing whether or not he should provide plea bargains for the defendant, and building a strong case against the defendant.
What does a criminal defense lawyer do?
A criminal defense lawyer is the other type of criminal justice attorney. These criminal justice attorneys work on the other side to help defendants build a case for themselves. A criminal defense lawyer provides defendants with expert legal advice and good representation throughout the proceedings. Some people argue that criminal defense lawyers have it easier than prosecutors because they simply need to poke holes in the prosecutors’ case. If the state has a rock solid case against the defendant, however, then things get tricky for the defense lawyer.
While prosecutors only get involved in a case when a suspect has already been found and charges have been pressed, a defense lawyer can get involved much earlier in the process. Defense lawyers provide legal advice as soon as a suspect is being interrogated by the police. This is why you see people ask for their lawyers to be present during interrogations in a lot of TV shows and movies.
Something else that you may know from movies or history classes is that if a defendant is unable to afford a criminal justice attorney, then he or she will be provided with a public defender. Typically, if you can afford it, you should choose a private lawyer because you really do get what you pay for.