Difference between Criminal Defense Attorney and Lawyer
Halt | January 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

The Main Differences: Criminal Defense Attorney vs Lawyer

Going to court is scary. You’re not sure what the outcome will be, what the jury will think, and if you’ll walk out a free person. Fortunately, there are professionals with keen knowledge of the law who will represent you.

Seeking Legal Help and Advice From A Professional

When people hear about legal professionals, they typically think that legal help and advice should only be sought by people or businesses with significant power and wealth, but this is, in many ways, false. Obtaining legal help and advice is a crucial aspect of making informed decisions.

Difference Between a Defense Attorney and Lawyer

Whether or not you’re at fault, everyone should be supported by a legal professional. These professionals are lawyers, but people often mistake them for an ‘attorney.’ Before you go to court, you should understand the difference.

Before you contact a lawyer or a defense attorney, understand how each will represent you. Continue reading to understand the difference between a defense attorney vs lawyer.


A lawyer is someone who practices the law. Think of the term ‘lawyer’ and take out the ‘law’ portion. Lawyers are the ones you see in movies — standing up in court, supporting either the plaintiff or the defendant.

But lawyers like What the Law does more than fight for you in court. They offer transparency when discussing your case and they can give you proper legal advice.

The Duties of a Lawyer

Lawyers hold more lawful obligation. You can find thoroughly trained in law professionals with Service Care Solutions and some give sound legal advice. Because of this, they have a strict code of ethics.

Lawyers can decide to specialize in a certain field or hold a specific position. Lawyers can also choose to hold various roles.

In court, a lawyer can act as a superior or as support. In these roles, the lawyer defends the client by providing evidence to benefit the client in their case.

Depending on the case, the lawyer will debate and fight for their client’s freedom. These lawyers are also called a barrister.

Throughout the case, the lawyer can act as an adviser. This is when the lawyer guides, counsels and instructs their client on the legal issues surrounding their case.

These lawyers, also called solicitors, cannot help you in court unless your case goes to a lower court.

Lawyers can also take on additional roles, such as trial works. These lawyers conduct research, interview clients, interview witnesses, and gather additional details to use in court.

If you’re planning to launch a business, a lawyer will become a vital part of your team. There are online resources like Inc and Go that can help you set up your legal documents. However, even if you choose to go the DIY route, a lawyer’s advice and guidance will be invaluable in the often-overwhelming process of establishing a business.

Moreover, setting up a business is incredibly complex and technical. Hiring a lawyer helps you with these three aspects:

  • The government: You wouldn’t want your business to violate tax laws. A good lawyer will assist you in evaluating your tax liabilities and ensure that you’ll pay them. 
  • The general public and third parties: A lawyer can assist you in settling agreements with third-parties and the general public. This includes identifying, controlling, and mitigating risks when negotiating with investors, suppliers, employees, customers, and the market. 

Business owners: Businesses with more than one founders should establish their rights and expectations in the company upon its inception. This way, they can seamlessly settle their disagreements in case there will be in the future.

Different Fields

In the modern day, lawyers have private practices and open up their services to a myriad of different cases. These cases generally surround criminals or those who charge others with a crime.

But there are still lawyers who specialize in certain fields and roles. These include:

  • Environmental Lawyer –a lawyer who specializes in cases such as clean technology, water law, climate change law, and public land.
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer — a lawyer who protects inventions, trade secrets, and product names.
  • DUI Defense Lawyer – a criminal lawyer with expertise in defending drunk driving charges, such as this DUI lawyer in Los Angeles.
  • Civil Law Lawyer — a lawyer who helps their clients with wills, trusts, and contracts.
  • Nonprofit Lawyer — a lawyer who supports and advocates nonprofit organizations.
  • Criminal Defense Lawyer — a lawyer who defends clients who are accused of a crime, such as Criminal Solicitors.

When to Hire a Lawyer

While not required in court, hiring a lawyer is highly recommended. You’ll want to hire a lawyer when:

  • You’re in a position where legal representation is necessary
  • You could go to jail
  • You could lose money
  • Your opponent has a lawyer
  • Your case involves in personal injury
  • You’re going through a difficult divorce
  • You’re administering the estate of a deceased person
  • You’re conducting estate planning
  • You’re adopting a child
  • You have to negotiate a difficult contract
  • Any complex business matter

These are all broad reasons, and in some of these cases, self-representation can work. If you find a lawyer who offers a free consultation, it’s worth seeking their advice.

Defense Attorney

An attorney is someone who conducts business for someone else. In some cases, a defense attorney is almost similar to a lawyer in a defense attorney vs lawyer argument. That’s because a defense attorney can represent you in court.

This is why you hear terms such as ‘attorneys-at-law’ (an attorney who can represent their clients in court) and ‘power of attorney’ (a document stating the power the attorney has over a business).

But there’s a difference between a lawyer and a defense attorney. An attorney regularly conducts business with an individual or an establishment. This is why attorneys are also referred to as an ‘agent.’

An attorney can’t provide court services unless they’re a ‘defense attorney at law.’ To establish this title, a defense attorney needs to have the same qualifications as a lawyer.

The Duties of an Attorney

An attorney, especially an attorney-at-law, works similarly to a lawyer. This is why it’s hard to differentiate a defense  attorney vs lawyer.

These include resolving cases, working to save clients’ money in court, act as advisors for clients, prepare pleadings and other legal documents, prepare contracts, and prosecute cases.

The main difference between a defense attorney and a lawyer is an attorney’s relationship with the client. This relationship is stated in the power of defense attorney document.

Because the attorney’s duties are limited to this document, a defense attorney can take on many roles. They can simply sign off on loan or can support their client when their client is sued in court.

The main difference between a defense attorney and a lawyer is an attorney’s duties aren’t subjected to court.

A business may hire a defense attorney to handle their legal documents or an individual may hire an attorney to supervise the purchase of an estate.

Different Fields

Like a lawyer, an attorney can choose to stay broad or specialize in different fields and positions. For specialized cases, it’s hard to decide between an attorney vs lawyer.

An attorney can share certain field similarities with lawyers, such as civil law. But since attorneys act as agents, they’re open to a variety of other positions. These include:

  • Corporate and Securities Attorney
  • Education Attorney
  • Employment or Labor Attorney
  • Family and Juvenile Attorney
  • Health Attorney
  • Immigration Attorney
  • International Attorney
  • Real Estate Attorney
  • Sports and Entertainment Attorney
  • Tax Attorney

These specialties can be given to a lawyer, but an attorney acts as an agent for these fields and organizations.

Now You Know the Different Between an Attorney Vs Lawyer

Attorneys and lawyers are extremely similar law professionals, so it’s common to mix up these titles.

But there are slight differences between the two. A lawyer practices the law, assisting clients in court. A defense attorney is an agent of the law, assisting their clients with various legal processes in and out of court.

Are you a lawyer or defense attorney? Look at our services and post a directory listing.


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