Is there a technical difference between an attorney and a lawyer? We tend to intermingle our usage of the terms substituting one for the other, but are they both same? Attorneys and lawyers are both someone who is trained and licensed to give legal advice. But technically an attorney is your legal agent in a court proceeding, while a lawyer is just someone with legal training. As your advocate, the attorney is your representative before the court.
Attorney in Fact VS Attorney at Law
An ‘attorney-in-fact’ is not necessarily trained in law but is your agent. A spouse who is given authority in a living will or other similar actions to make decisions concerning your health is an attorney-in-fact, while an attorney-at-law is someone licensed to practice law and have broader capabilities beyond an attorney-in-fact.
Nevada Legal Services
In the State of Nevada, we don’t recognize legal specialists though many attorneys tend to narrow their practices to certain specialty endeavors. Real estate, business and contractual law, asset protection and bankruptcy or tax law. Criminal defense lawyers tend to take on criminal cases where a colleague does family law. Because of the extent of case and court decisions, attorneys tend to specialize in one area or another. Larger attorney offices usually have a specialist area covered by a competent attorney practicing in their area of expertise.
Prosecutor Job Description
Prosecutors are representatives of the state, meaning they represent the community at large and prosecute those who have broken the law. Prosecutors operate at the municipal (city), county (district attorney) state (attorney general) and federal (attorney general). Prosecutors are also the legal advisers for their jurisdictional governmental entities.
Public Defender’s Office
The public defender’s office provides representation for those who’s economic status prevents them from hiring a private attorney. Low level prosecutors and public defenders have horrendous volumes of cases, and act to sift through their case logs for cases that demand further court actions. This occurs in the preliminary hearing. Pleas and plea bargaining are rendered, and the more important cases are scheduled for trial.
Caseloads for Prosecutors & Public Defenders
These two offices, public defenders and prosecutors both operate under budgets, though it may seem that justice goes awry as it is economically unfeasible to conduct a trial for every case. They must pick those cases that have the most impact on society, hence the concentration of violent crimes, sometimes at the expense of property crimes, larceny and fraud. US law is based upon English common law. Common law evolves through decisions made in courts. The higher the court the broader the impact on court proceedings.
US Court System
Appeals from justice court (county) and municipal court (city) are submitted to the district courts. Judicial courts have preliminary and bail jurisdiction on all crimes, but trial and judgement jurisdiction on misdemeanors only. All felony charges are assigned to the district courts. Municipal courts only have misdemeanor jurisdiction on crimes occurring in the city. Gross misdemeanors and felonies are referred to the justice courts for preliminary purposes and determine if probable cause, meaning the facts and circumstance is sufficient and support evidence would warrant prosecution. If the justice court judge deems that the evidence is sufficient and sound and no constitutional rights were violated the case is referred to the district court.
Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, Business Attorneys & More in Greater Las Vegas, Nevada
Justice courts have jurisdiction, limited to the county. In cases involving civil process they can rule on small claims actions. Civil cases are mostly district court actions up to federal level. Many regulatory agencies use civil process to enforce their regulations. Kajioka & Associates Attorneys At Law will aggressively represent you in criminal defense, personal injury and business law cases. Contact us for a consultation today.