The Key Differences Between a Defense Lawyer and a Criminal Lawyer

Criminal and defense attorneys are skilled legal experts who may represent a company or an individual accused of criminal charges. They are both legal professionals who will defend their clients, but there’s an appreciable difference between them. Contact Sean Fagan Criminal Defence Lawyer, if you are facing any criminal charges.

Defense attorneys represent people charged with a crime, while criminal lawyers can work in different capacities. These two terms need to be clarified for most people, and here is a helpful breakdown.

Defense lawyers Vs. Criminal Lawyer, what’s the Difference?

Who is a Defense Attorney? A defense lawyer defends a client accused of committing a crime. They protect their clients by defending the client’s interests and legal rights. A defense attorney constructs a case after researching, investigating, and obtaining evidence.

The Roles of a Defense Attorney

Apart from representing the defendant’s interests, the defense attorney also has these roles:

Provide Legal Advice and Guidance to a Defendant

The attorney will explain the charges you’re facing, potential penalties, and possible options available for you. They will also advise you on legal strategies and their outcomes in the case. After evaluating your case, your attorney will recommend whether to plead not guilty, go to trial, or pursue a plea bargain.

Investigate the Case

A defense attorney will review the evidence against you, like witnesses’ statements, police reports, and physical evidence. They will conduct more investigations by hiring experts and seeking additional evidence to build a solid defense – this may help mitigate your case and reduce penalties or charges.

Court Representation

When you hire a defense attorney, they will represent your case in court, argue on your behalf, and question the prosecution witnesses. They present evidence and make closing arguments that may convince the jury of your innocence or mitigate penalties or charges.

Negotiate with the Prosecutor

It’s the role of your defense attorney to plea bargain with the prosecutor to ensure your charges are dropped or reduced. They will discuss possible plea deals with the prosecutor and ensure you get reduced charges or a lighter sentence in exchange for your pleading guilty. Depending on the evidence, this might be a better chance than taking the case to trial.

Preparing Appeals

If the court finds you guilty, the defense attorney may help you prepare for an appeal of your case and represent you in court. They review the trial record and check for errors in court proceedings. Then the defense attorney argues the errors are significant to overturn the conviction given.

Who is a Criminal Attorney?

A criminal lawyer is an attorney with knowledge of criminal law and other areas such as forensics, DNA, as well as any other necessary fields that they use to challenge a prosecutor. Criminal attorneys are categorized into private criminal attorneys and court-appointed lawyers the government provides to defendants. A criminal lawyer may work in different capacities like:

Prosecutor (Public or Private)

A criminal defense attorney can be a prosecutor and bring criminal charges against people and organizations in court. Their role is to build the case for their clients and prove the guilt of the defendant beyond reasonable doubt

Private Practitioners

The duties of a criminal lawyer are to defend the interest of their client accused of criminal charges. They investigate the case with facts according to law and analyze the prosecutors’ case. These attorneys are skilled in negotiating with a prosecutor, formulating plea bargains, and identifying the defense witnesses.

Public Defenders

Criminal lawyers can also be appointed public defenders by the courts to represent people who can’t afford a private lawyer. They protect the defendant’s rights and interests through the trial. The abovementioned roles show that a criminal defense lawyer will work in different capacities and fit perfectly.

How to Choose an Excellent Criminal Attorney for Your Criminal Case?

The legal field is saturated with many criminal defense attorneys, but how will you know the right to handle your case? Here are tips for choosing the right criminal defense attorney for your case.


Hiring a criminal defense lawyer with experience handling cases like yours is essential. For example, if you’re facing assault charges, search for an attorney with broad experience in assault cases. Their extensive knowledge will work to your advantage, especially in related laws and penalties; they understand the best strategies to defend your case.


When hiring a criminal defense lawyer, ensure you hire one with time to devote to your case. Choose a responsive attorney who can keep you posted on your case progress. You can ask them how often they can be available or if they have associates who can assist in your case.

Track Record

Choose an attorney who has a reputable success record in cases like yours. Their history will give you a slight clue of what they can achieve. Ensure you hire an attorney with a good record of winning, reducing charges, or getting cases dismissed.

Although there’s a misconception that defense and criminal attorneys are the same, you have learned the difference between them. A defense attorney helps clients with criminal charges, while a criminal attorney is an expert in trial tactics and can work in different fields.