The Difference Between Prosecution Lawyers and Defence Lawyers

During a trial you often hear of ‘the prosecution’ and ‘the defense’. There is a big difference between the two and the role that each play during a court case. Both the prosecution and defense lawyer are university educated and hold degrees from law school. They have both also passed the state bar exam in the state that they are practicing law. Both are in court with the aim to win the case. However, the prosecution is arguing that the accused is guilty of a crime on behalf of the state and must receive a penalty usually jail time. The defense on the other hand is defending their client against the charges by the state. Before you read this article, this post on Carrington College’s site will provide some more background info.

Here are the key things to know about both:

Prosecution Lawyer

The prosecution lawyer is employed by the government to represent the state in criminal law cases. They can decide to drop charges against the accused in a criminal case, or to press charges and go ahead with a criminal trial. During a criminal trial in court, they aim to prove that the accused is guilty of the charged crime. They call witnesses to the stand to testify against the accused and presents evidence to the judge and jury. The lawyer must by law present all evidence found during the pre-trial investigation, even if it is not favorable to the case. He or she can offer a plea bargain or deal to the defendant pre-trial. This means that the accused agrees to plead guilty to lesser charges, in exchange for less prison time or something of that nature in return from the prosecution.

Defense Lawyer

A defense lawyer will be hired once the accused is arrested or charged with a crime. A criminal attorney can either by hired by the defendant himself or herself, or can be appointed by the state. The role of a this person during a criminal trial is to defend the accused as best as they can. They aim to prove their clients innocence. They also want to ensure the best outcome for their client. This can sometimes mean that a lesser sentence is the goal, over a large or life sentence in large criminal trials. He or she will assist their client pre-trial, during trial and post trial. Unlike the prosecution a defense lawyer does not by law have to present all evidence uncovered during the pre-trial investigation.