Once a District Attorney is elected, the DA has the power to make many important decisions in and outside of the courtroom. Below are a few decisions a DA can make.


Outside the Courtroom

Investigation of Law Enforcement

  • A DA has the power to investigate allegations of law enforcement misconduct and ultimately bring charges.
  • A DA also has the power to ask a special prosecutor or another agency to investigate law enforcement misconduct.

Creating Programs and Specialized Units

  • A DA has the power to create programs to serve as alternatives to incarceration or to provide resources for the community.
  • A DA also has the power to create specialized units within the DA's office focused on addressing prevalent issues within the community.

Hiring Decisions

  • A DA has the power to hire Assistant District Attorneys who will prosecute cases.
  • A DA also has the power to hire investigators who will investigate cases.

Conviction Review 

  • A DA has the power to review old cases to ensure that wrongful convictions have not occurred.


Inside the Courtroom

Charging Decisions

  • A DA makes the ultimate decision on whether to file charges or dismiss charges against a person. 
  • Once a DA decides to bring charges, the DA has the power to decide the seriousness of the charges to bring (will the charge be a felony or a misdemeanor?).
  • In police brutality cases, a DA has broad discretion to present evidence to a grand jury warranting criminal charges.

Requesting Bail/Bond

  • A DA has the power to request bail or bond in a case. By doing so, the DA asks the judge to require the person accused of a crime to pay in order to get out of jail.
  • In most jurisdictions, a DA also has discretion to not ask for bail, agreeing instead to the release of a person ahead of trial or plea so long as the person promises to return to court.

Negotiating with the Accused 

  • A DA has the power to negotiate a plea deal with the accused. 
  • A DA has the power to offer the accused a diversion program, community service or an alternative to jail.

Other Decisions (Based on State)

  • In states where the Death Penalty is permitted, a DA makes the decision on when to pursue it.
  • Similarly in states where children may be charged as adults, a DA decides when that is warranted.


Why should you vote in DA elections?

Elections give us an opportunity to learn about DA candidates and use our votes to choose a DA that is committed to our communities and making sure that justice is served.

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