In the U.S., the adversarial judicial system, or criminal cases, are contested between two opposing sides, the prosecution and the defense. This system ensures a fair trial by allowing both parties to present evidence and legal arguments to support their side. Unfortunately, many defendants do not know the roles and responsibilities of the prosecutor. However, it is vital to understand their duties to ensure you are prepared for impending legal proceedings. If you’re facing criminal charges, contact a skilled Baldwin County Criminal Defense Lawyer who can help shield you from your charges.
What are the duties of a prosecutor during a criminal case?
Firstly, a prosecutor is the legal representative of the state. Essentially, it is a government official responsible for bringing defendants accused of committing a crime in criminal cases to justice in the name of the state. Prosecutors have various responsibilities and roles during criminal proceedings. Prosecutors are responsible for investigating, charging, and prosecuting individuals accused of breaking the law. They must carry out all legal proceedings against those charged with a crime in their jurisdiction.
During a defendant’s first appearance in court, typically during their arraignment, the prosecutor will make bail recommendations. They will recommend setting a bail limit based on the defendant’s age, criminal history, and relative risk to the public. The prosecutor also has the responsibility of determining whether to prosecute a defendant.
Moreover, they can negotiate plea bargains. They can offer a lesser sentence to a defendant in exchange for a guilty plea. This would mean the case would not move forward to a trial, and they would accept reduced charges. However, if the defendant rejects the plea bargain, their case will continue to trial. If the case continues to trial, the prosecutor must prepare their case for trial as they have the burden of proving a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The proof beyond a reasonable doubt standard is the highest burden of proof, which requires the prosecution to prove a defendant committed the crime of which they’ve been charged, without any reasonable doubt that there could be another conclusion.
Does the prosecution have the authority to recommend sentencing?
After they prepare the case, a jury must be selected before the case can begin. The prosecutor is responsible for questioning potential jurors and determining whether some jurors should be dismissed from the case if they do not meet specific requirements or conflict with the case due to biases. Once the jury has been selected, the trial will commence, where the prosecutor is responsible for presenting the case. They must present the state’s case, which involves asking witnesses questions, presenting case facts, requesting expert statements, and presenting opening and closing statements.
If, after presenting the case, the prosecution has proved a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and a judge or jury delivers a guilty verdict, they will recommend sentencing. The prosecutor will confer with a judge to recommend sentencing based on the defendant’s criminal history and the severity of their criminal acts. Ultimately, sentencing is up to the discretion of the judge.
If you’re facing criminal charges, it is in your best interest to contact a determined lawyer from The Law Office of James M. Burns, who can guide you through every step of this complex legal process to avoid harsh penalties.