When you think attorney, the image that comes to mind is that of a middle-aged man with a briefcase crammed full of documents and wearing a three-piece suit and polished black shoes. It is, clearly, a stereotypical image of a city lawyer, and many people tend to think that all lawyers are the same.
But this is simply not the case.
The subject of law is a branching tree. Every fruit and leaf has its own life. Criminal law, for example, has many different aspects – homicide, white collar crimes, theft, and etcetera. It is not an organism that has stopped evolving. Instead, it is very much alive and multi-faceted.
In the same way, lawyers can be divided into groups as well. The most distinct groups would be two: defense attorneys and prosecutors. To help further underline the differences between the two professions, it is helpful to focus on just one branch of law – criminal justice.
To start, criminal justice is defined as a branch of law that deals with intentional harms against individuals but is also taken against the rest of the population. In criminal cases, the government files the case against the accused, thus the often used titles ‘People vs. Accused.’
For the sake of this discussion, the duties and responsibilities of a criminal defense attorney and a prosecutor must be delineated. Firstly, the latter usually represents the government (or the people, as it may well be) while the accused party hires the criminal defense attorney Salt Lake City, or any other city, could, in some cases, get a public defender for the accused party if the latter cannot afford to hire a private attorney.
Prosecutors have a moral responsibility to indict the accused on charges filed against them by the people. The duty of a criminal defense attorney is the exact opposite – to protect the accused against the charges filed by the people.
To give a concrete example, if a case is filed by the government of Utah against a suspected criminal, a public prosecutor is hired to prove that the suspect did indeed commit a crime. The job of proving otherwise – that the suspect is innocent and should be freed of all charges filed against him or her by the state – lies with a criminal defense attorney Salt Lake City jurors will have to be convinced of these arguments. This is done through direct examination, cross-examination, presentation of evidence, and a battle of wits between the prosecutor and the defense.
Additionally, while a prosecutor is usually hired and paid by the government at a fixed rate, the price can be dictated by a criminal defense attorney Salt Lake City prices might have to be considered, for example, when looking for an attorney in that area. He or she can also set up the terms by which they would be paid – hourly billing, case billing, or through a retainer.
However, things are not as clear cut as that. A prosecutor in Utah, for example, after working for the government for quite some time, might opt to put up their own private practice as a criminal defense attorney Salt Lake City laws and ordinances would not be a stranger to this person because, by then, he or she would have been well acquainted by then with how the law works in that specific county.
One may think that one side is better than the other because the former sides with justice while the other sides with the criminal. This is, obviously, not the case. A prosecutor and a defense attorney balance each other out. A skilled defense can save an innocent man from entering jail, thus letting the government know that the real perpetrator is still out there. In the same way, a skilled prosecutor can put a criminal behind bars, where he belongs, with evidence and fact.
Still, though their duties and responsibilities differ, prosecutors and defense attorneys ought to work toward a common goal. More than earning their keep, they ought to keep in mind that the end goal of every case is to unravel the threads of truth. Only then can real justice be attained.