The Roles of Defense Lawyers and Prosecutors


Defense lawyers and prosecutors play important roles in criminal case trials. In the most basic sense, a prosecutor’s job is to try to prove that the defendant is guilty, while the defense lawyer’s is to prove that the defendant is innocent. Here is a closer look at the main differences in their jobs.


A prosecutor’s main objective is to prosecute a person who is charged with a certain criminal offense. To be able to perform their duties, they have to first gather evidence against the defendant. They will have to use the pieces of evidence to persuade the jury that the defendant is guilty of the crime.

A criminal defense lawyer works for the other party. Working as a representative of the charged person, they provide advice on how to plead. They also conduct their own investigations on the case and represent the defendant at trial with the goal of proving his innocence.


Prosecutors are public officers for they work for the office of the district attorney, which is funded by public money. The district attorney is in charge with the jurisdiction’s criminal prosecutions. Defense lawyers can be a private lawyer or a public lawyer, according to Haldanes law firm. In case the person charged with criminal offense is not able to pay for a private attorney, the court would appoint a public defender for them.


One common denominator between a prosecutor and a defense lawyer is their educational background. To get a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, they have to finish a four-year undergraduate program then three years of law school. This means you have to complete the seven-year full-time study to be able to practice law. Most importantly, you have to pass the bar examination to get a license.

Legal professionals perform different roles and enter different specializations to better serve their clients and the public. To be able to do this, they undergo years of education and practice to achieve excellence in their profession.

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