Cases, judges, prosecutors, defendants, trials: all these words are legal jargon. These are words that we often hear in the news or when discussing someone’s legal verdict, but most of us never really understand what these words mean.
A prosecutor, for instance, is someone who goes against the defendant. And the case is brought to court where the judge decides on a final verdict. If the case goes to trial, a jury of people decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty.
What is a Prosecuting Attorney?
A prosecuting attorney is someone who works for the public interest and brings up cases against the accused. Frequently known as a state or lead prosecutor, the attorney divulges reality of wrongdoing and shows to a judge and jury why the accused is guilty. Significant characteristics of a prosecution lawyer incorporate public interest, eagerness for public assistance, appeal and a capacity to deal with high-pressure circumstances.
What Does A Prosecuting Attorney Do?
The primary motive of a prosecutor is to charge a defendant accused of committing a crime. Ideally, these are some of the basic tasks incorporated by a prosecutor:
- Participating in the investigation of criminal activity
- Presenting evidence in court
- Assisting in determining the punishment or settlement defendants should receive
- Reviewing police reports
- Performing research
- Coordinating with additional attorneys, the police and other professionals
- Meeting with witnesses or victims
How to become a Prosecutor?
To become a prosecuting attorney, there are certain educational and professional qualifications a person must have. Basically, a prosecuting attorney requirements are:
Bachelor’s degree: It really starts with your education. The first step is always getting a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or related subjects. Even if your grades aren’t top-notch, you should graduate with a reasonable CGPA and a good score in public speaking activities.
LSAT: Preparing for a Law School Admission Test gets you in a good law school where you can officially start your prosecutor journey. This test is mandatory and students need to get a very high score to be considered. Higher the score, higher the chances of getting into your dream school.
Law Degree: Getting a law degree after the LSATs is very important, and a Juris Doctor degree is very important for being a criminal prosecutor. During this, law students get lots of opportunities to practice while they’re also studying like working for community cases or under the mentorship of a certified lawyer. This gives them hands-on experience about prosecution cases and how to deal with those.
The Bar: The next step to becoming a prosecutor is passing the Bar. To get the license, every student must pass the state’s bar exam. This exam is very challenging and very hard for people to even pass it, and to get the license to practice law is very important.
Internship: The next step is to formally look for an internship and work for proper law firms to get experience. When all of these steps are completed, then only a person can practice as a criminal prosecutor and work for high-paying jobs.
Types of Prosecutors
On every different level of the state, there are different types of prosecutors that function. Here are the types of prosecutors in the United States.
- S Attorney: These are the prosecutors that work on a federal level. The U.S. attorney general, who is the chief law enforcement officer in the United States and the head of the Department of Justice, has supervisory responsibility over U.S. attorneys, and is typically appointed by the President.
- District Attorney: These are the types of prosecutors that handle criminal cases by exposing the crimes of felons and bringing them to court. District Attorneys handle mass cases in the country and are answerable to no one.
- County Attorney: These are usually present in rural areas where they handle cases that aren’t of a massive nature. They work out of small offices and prosecute felons.
- Independent Counsel: These are responsible for high-profile cases such as charging people of the White House, or investigating the President. Independent counsels gain public confidence that the case will be investigated with impartiality and justice will be served no matter how powerful the accused is.
District Attorney Qualifications
A district attorney is a type of prosecutor that brings criminal cases to court and fights cases to make sure a criminal is rightfully punished.
To qualify for a district attorney, almost every state requires that the person complete a high school diploma and a 4-year college degree, as well as earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from an ABA-approved law school, before sitting for the state bar examination and applying for licensure as attorneys.
After graduating from law school, students are required to pass their state’s bar exam to become licensed to practice law. Some states also require that aspiring attorneys pass a judicial ethics exam or multistate performance test. In addition to passing the required examination, the student typically has to pass a state bar review of their character.
Most often, the bar exam must be taken in each state where the lawyer seeks to practice, though many states have reciprocity agreements. These agreements permit lawyers who meet certain requirements, including some number of years of experience as a practicing attorney and passing a test on state-specific laws, to practice in a different state without sitting for a separate bar exam.
A district attorney is elected or appointed for a set term, typically 4 years in duration, depending on the jurisdiction. It is the DA’s responsibility to determine whether a criminal case should be brought to trial once they have reviewed the evidence for the case. They hold law degrees and must pass their state’s bar exam and meet any other examination requirements their state has.
A prosecuting attorney is responsible for bringing criminal cases to the court, against someone who has broken the law or done some criminal activity. The prosecutor analyzes the evidence and fights the case, making sure that the criminal is rightfully punished as per the evidence and witness accounts presented in court.
To be a criminal prosecutor, the process is tough and long but never impossible! For everyone who is in the field and on the path of becoming one: good luck!