What is the attorney? 

Asking what an attorney is and does, is a question without a concise answer. This is because there are many specialties under the broad heading of Law. Even if you asked more specifically, what a prosecutor does, the answer you will receive would not be complete unless it came in book form. Still, it is instructive to know a bit about what an attorney is if you are planning to hire a lawyer soon. 

An attorney refers to any law practitioner accredited in one or more states. However, an attorney-at-law is someone who has passed the bar, practiced law actively, and has earned the privilege of representing clients before the court or courts in whatever jurisdiction he or she is licensed to practice. 

What Tasks Do Attorneys Perform? 

Attorneys perform various tasks, such as: 

  • Representing clients in a court of law 
  • Advising clients on their legal inquiries and concerns 
  • Researching laws and arguing in court 
  • Examining the evidence for trial 
  • Engaging in discovery (obtaining documents for trial) 
  • Requesting appeals if possible 
  • Seeking damages for injuries 
  • Engaging in criminal defense or prosecution 

To become an attorney, one must complete law school (usually three years) and pass a state bar examination. They must certify the practitioners in any state in which they wish to work, and each state has its bar association. 

Many attorneys are specialists in a particular field, such as patent law, copyright law, and others. Many State laws allow the specialist attorney to pass another test or meet specific criteria before they can be a specialist.

Criminal Law – An Overview

Criminal law, also known as penal law, applies in different jurisdictions to different ruling bodies. One common characteristic of these rule bodies is the propensity for severe and distinct judgments as punishments for failing to comply. 

Criminal punishment, which depends on the jurisdiction and offense committed, can include the loss of one’s liberty, fines, government supervision such as probation or parole, and even execution. 


An attorney seeks to defend the accused individuals against such eventualities. There are various archetypal crimes, such as murder. It is worth noting the forbidden acts are not entirely consistent between distinct criminal codes. 

However, even in specific codes, the lines may be unclear. This is because civil refraction is also likely to give rise to criminal outcomes. In most instances, the government enforces criminal law. This is unlike civil law, which could be implemented by private parties. 

Punishments of Criminal Law Violation 

Criminal law is different for two reasons: the failure to put up with its regulations and the uniquely severe possible outcomes. Physical consequences could be imposed. However, these outcomes are forbidden in most parts of the universe. Depending on one’s jurisdiction, individuals could be in a range of conditions. Incarceration could be solitary. 

The confinement period could be as short as one day and as long as one’s entire life. Supervision by the government, including house arrests, confiscating property, and money from individuals convicted of offenses, could be imposed. What is more, offenders could be obligated to conform to specific rules as part of the probation and parole regimen. 

Objectives of Criminal Law Enforcement 

By punishment, there are five widely accepted objectives in the enforcement of criminal law that an attorney seeks to defend offenders against. These are 

  • Retribution – Offenders must undergo some suffering. 
  • Deterrence – Individual deterrence is intended at specific criminals. 
  • Incapacitation – This is intended to keep offenders away from the public to protect society from their delinquency.
  • Rehabilitation – It is used by the courts and attorneys to make criminals valuable to society. 
  • Restitution – This is a punishment theory that is victim-oriented.

However, it is worth noting that when it comes to the value placed on each one of them, jurisdictions differ. 

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