What Is a Criminal Justice Lawyer?

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What Is a Criminal Justice Lawyer?

A criminal justice lawyer is a lawyer who has been trained to work in the U.S. criminal justice system. They are responsible for representing either the state or a criminal defendant throughout the entirety of a criminal trial. Criminal justice lawyers play an important role in the U.S. criminal justice system. 

In general, most criminal justice lawyers receive their training during law school and through various training and accreditation programs. They must be licensed by the state bar in the area where they are practicing. Criminal justice lawyers usually work as either prosecutors or as criminal defense lawyers

What Does a Criminal Prosecutor Do?

A Criminal Prosecutor is a type of lawyer who is responsible for bringing a case against an accused person in a criminal trial. The burden of proof initially rests on the prosecutor, who must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is because a criminal defendant is always considered to be innocent until proven guilty.  

Criminal prosecutors usually become involved in a criminal case only when a suspect has been identified, and charges are to be filed against them. A prosecutor is typically employed by the state or by federal authorities and they are often appointed through a local election. 

Some of the tasks and responsibilities of a criminal prosecutor may include:

In other words, a criminal prosecutor assertively pursues prosecution of persons whom the state reasonably believes to be guilty of violating criminal laws

What Is a Criminal Defense Attorney?

A Criminal Defense Attorney is a type of lawyer who defends criminal defendants during trial. They are responsible for providing the defendant with legal advice, counsel, and representation during criminal trial.   

If a criminal defendant is unable to afford their own attorney, the state will provide a public defender for them. However, many criminal defense attorneys work separately from the state through a private criminal defense firm. 

Unlike prosecutors, a criminal defense lawyer may become involved at a much earlier stage in the criminal justice process. They often begin providing legal services even before criminal charges have been formally filed against the suspect. For example, they can assist and protect suspects who are being interrogated by the police or other legal authorities.    

Some of the tasks that criminal defense lawyers routinely perform are:

Also, many criminal defense lawyers continue to work with a defendant until well after trial. This is because the client may often need legal assistance with post-trial issues such as parole or probation.

Do I Need a Criminal Justice Lawyer?

If you are involved in any way with criminal charges, you may wish to contact a criminal justice lawyer as necessary. If you are facing criminal charges, a criminal defense attorney can help represent you in court. Or, if you have been the victim of a crime, a criminal prosecutor can help you through the process. Many victims of crime choose to work with their own private prosecutor instead of a state-appointed prosecutor.  

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Last Modified: 11-18-2013 10:23 AM PST

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