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What’s the Difference between a Prosecutor and Defense Attorney

Posted by Thurston Lopes | Mar 16, 2018 | 0 Comments


Prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys have many similarities. For example, they basically have the same education and work in the same court system. Of course, the most important difference is who they represent in the courtroom. While they occasionally have to work together to come to an agreement, prosecutors and defense attorneys usually face each other in the courtroom as opponents.

Legal Education

Prosecutors and defense attorneys both must have a law degree before they can become an attorney. Law school takes an additional three years after completing an undergraduate program. The law school coursework will cover various aspects of the law and not just criminal law. Finally, both prosecutors and defense attorneys must pass the bar exam to become licensed to practice law in their state.


The prosecutor doesn't really have clients. They're employed by the government. It's their job to review arrest records and decide when to press charges and when to drop a case. If a case goes to trial, it will be the prosecutor's job to prove beyond a doubt that the defendant was guilty. They may also recommend a sentence, but the judge or jury will make the final decision on that.


Prosecutors can negotiate sentencing terms with defense attorneys. For example, a client may get a shorter jail sentence for pleading guilty without going to trial.

Defense attorneys always represent the accused. They may work for the government and provide legal counsel as a public defender. Since every accused has the right to legal counsel, public defenders are available for the people who can't afford to hire a lawyer. Defense attorneys are also employed in the private sector, where they're hired by the person who was accused of a crime.

Job Duties

As a criminal defense lawyer in metro-Atlanta and Marietta, we represent you, the individual accused. It's Attorney Lopes' job to ensure that your rights are being upheld. A criminal defense lawyer needs to see the evidence and talk to the witnesses. We may talk to the police, the prosecutor, and anyone else who has an interest in the case. Even if you, as the client admit you are guilty, as your attorney what you say to us is privileged, and attorneys generally are not required to share that information and we can still defend you.

While the goal may be to help the client escape conviction, that's not always possible. However, a good criminal defense attorney can help reduce the sentencing and advocate on your behalf throughout the trial. For more information about how a criminal defense attorney can help, call The Lopes Law Firm at (404) 589-9000.

About the Author

Thurston Lopes

For over 20 years, Thurston Lopes has served the Metro Atlanta area. He has a passion for what he does, and works to ensure that all clients receive approachable, responsive representation. Credentials Mr. Lopes received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Hampton University in 1989, an...


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