A district attorney is a prosecutor who represents the government in proceedings against criminals in a particular geographical area. State, county, and city district attorneys are widely known under the traditional acronym DA. Many states, however, have various names for the role, including state attorney or commonwealth attorney. Despite the differences in title, most essential functions of district attorneys remain the same. A DA acts in the name of the public and on behalf of the state to protect public safety by prosecuting criminals, initiating investigations, and taking charge of bringing criminals to justice by recommending criminal penalties.
Many states have one district attorney, but some have several. This is why there are more than 50 federal district attorneys in the United States, each of whom is assigned to a particular district that may not correspond to just one state. To be able to manage all legal cases across a district, every DA has a team of assistants. Although most DAs handle only criminal cases, some state attorneys also deal with law documents from civil procedures when a case involves public interest. According to legal practice in the United States, DAs are assigned by election and appointment.
The principal differences between district attorneys are related to the scope of their work, their geographical areas of responsibility and the ways they're assigned to duty. Depending on the case law and law documents of a particular state, many DAs can perform some civil duties of public interest but are nonetheless known under the same name. Given geographical jurisdiction, DAs can act as state district attorneys, county district attorneys, and city or municipal district attorneys. Only Virginia calls these legal professionals commonwealth attorneys, while many other states use the title deputy attorney general.