Whats the difference between a district attorney and an attorney general?

For example job duties, education requirements, salary...

4 Answers

  • pepper
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    A district attorney (D.A.) is, in some U.S. jurisdictions, the title of the local public official who represents the government in the prosecution of criminals. The district attorney is the highest officeholder in the jurisdiction's legal department and supervises a staff of assistant district attorneys.



    Most states also have an Attorney General who oversees prosecutions throughout the state (not to be confused with the Attorney General of the United States). A district attorney of a state is occasionally informally referred to as the state's attorney. Care should be taken to not confuse the two.

    Duties - DA:

    The District Attorney has jurisdiction over all felony, misdemeanor and summary offenses. The office also provides legal guidance in criminal matters for various police agencies and county departments.

    State Attorney General:

    Generally speaking, the Attorney General is responsible for the representation of the state in all legal matters, both civil and criminal, where the state is named as a party or may have an interest in the outcome of the litigation or dispute.

    Source(s): National District Attorney's Association: http://www.ndaa.org/ Office of the US Attorney General: http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/ For state attorney generals - they all have their own web presence. Salaries would vary with location. Education requirements.. extrapolate.
  • 1 decade ago

    Well, "the" attorney general for the state is a political appointment and is the state's highest law enforcement official and attorney. Most often, attorneys general concern themselves only with policymaking, agenda setting, and commanding the biggest cases (like consumer fraud against the entire state, or tobacco litigation). There are many assistant attorneys general who usually work in the AGs office. These are attorneys who usually handle statewide issues, although some may be specialized experts in a particular field that are assigned out to specific, local cases in an effort to lend their expertise. In general, assistant attorneys general handle things like class action cases, consumer fraud, and actions brought against the state government (contracts, some personal injury on state owned property, cases alleging executive misconduct, etc.)

    District attorneys, which are often called county attorneys, are in most states the primary criminal prosecutors. There is usually one "district" attorney and then a number of assistants. The district attorney may be a political appointee or may run for office. The head district attorney sets policy and acts as the boss for the assistants. The assistants are "line prosecutors," often assigned to prosecute a particular subclass of crimes.

    Education requirements are pretty much the same -- have a law degree and be licensed to practice. Salary varies. I would guess that in most states assistant district attorneys and assistant attorneys general would make about the same amout... between $40,000 (in small states) and maybe $80,000 (in big states and big offices). The chief district attorney and the attorney general will make more, but it's an elected office.

    Make sense?

    (This doesn't count the federal system. There, the "Attorney General" is the head of the Department of Justice... thus, the head of ALL governmental attorneys. There are deputies and assistants. Then, each federal judicial district has a "united states attorney" that is a political appointment and serves at the whim of the president. They coordinate all attorneys for that district -- both criminal and civil (i.e. when the government sues someone for breach of contract or when the government prosecutes a criminal. Under those people are assistant U.S. Attorneys, who are the line prosecutors or civil litigators. These jobs usually pay better, have better benefits, and are more prestigious because they're federal.)

  • 1 decade ago

    Attorney general is the big cheese, he's the top prosecutor in the nation. District attorney is usually lower. I think district attorneys are either local or are federal. Attorney general i assume gets paid more than district attorney.

    Source(s): former AP US Govt. and Politics student
  • 1 decade ago

    District attorney is usually a local office, usually a county-wide position.

    Attorney general is state or federal in scope.

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