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What to Expect from the Prosecutor in a Criminal Trial


Being involved in a criminal trial can be nerve-wracking. Whether you are involved as the defendant, a witness, or just a supportive family member, it can be helpful to understand what the proceedings are going to look like before they happen.

One of the main players in a criminal defense trial is the prosecutor. If you’re unsure what you should expect from a prosecutor, reach out to your lawyer for answers before your criminal trial. 

What is a Prosecutor?

Prosecutors are lawyers who work for state or government organizations. They are meant to be the people’s lawyers, meaning their role is to fight for the rights and safety of the communities they serve. Prosecutors are responsible for initiating the prosecution of criminal defenses on behalf of the state.

There are special positions, such as Statewide Prosecutors, that are appointed by the Attorney General. Statewide Prosecutors have the jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute crimes that have occurred or affected more than one jurisdiction in the state.

That means you may be facing charges and arguing your lack of guilt before a prosecutor. Your defense lawyer, by contrast, is meant to serve your future and well-being. 

Pressing Charges

Prosecutors are responsible for deciding whether to press charges in criminal cases and what those charges are. A charge is a formal accusation of a crime. The type of charge affects the consequences the defendant may face if they are convicted.

The same crime may be charged differently depending on the circumstances and people involved. Unfortunately, this leaves prosecutors room to unjustly persecute individuals.

People convicted of charges can face anything from fines and community service to loss of employment, eviction, imprisonment, or even deportation.

Release on Bail 

Bail is the temporary release of an individual charged with a crime, on the condition that a certain sum of money is lodged to ensure the person’s appearance in court.

Prosecutors are also in charge of deciding whether bail is warranted, and how much the bail is set at. For most crimes in Florida, bail is already set and is based exclusively on the crime. For capital offenses, bail is not an option.

Even though the United States justice system is based on the idea of “innocent until proven guilty,” prosecutors may set bail high to avoid the person leaving. You may even be denied a bail release if you’re considered a danger or a flight risk. 

Plea Bargain

A plea bargain occurs when the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a less harsh sentence from the prosecutor, and/or the agreement that the prosecutor drops the other charges.
The prosecutor is the one who decides whether to demand imprisonment, offer probation, or require that the individual get treatment (for mental health, anger, addiction, or other issues). Prosecutors also decide which charge the defendant must plead to for a plea bargain to go through.

Know a Prosecutor’s Role and Your Lawyer’s Defense

If you or someone you love find yourself dealing with a prosecutor in Florida, know that you still have a chance to fight for your freedom. 

Our criminal defense attorney at Hersem Law understands how scary this time can be and offers free strategy sessions upon request to help you discover the best path forward. 

Call 813-251-7291 or fill out the form today to see what Hersem Law can do for you.