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What is the Difference Between Civil Law and Criminal Law?

Have you ever wondered what the differences are between civil law vs. criminal law? Knowing the difference can significantly improve your chances of getting a legal victory. To learn more about the distinctions between civil law and criminal law, check out this simple guide!

The Differences Between Civil Law and Criminal Law

Criminal law exclusively deals with behavior that is an offense against the state, society, or an individual. Violations of criminal law include driving under the influence, assault, murder, and theft. Once someone is placed under arrest and charged with a crime, they are referred to a criminal court.

When it comes to what is considered civil law, there is a much broader scope of disputes that fall under this definition. One potential example would be a lawsuit over personal harm suffered or damage to property.

Other examples of civil law include landlords or tenants fighting over an eviction order. Issues over slander and libel would qualify as well, along with breach of contract and negligence resulting in death or injury.

The Differences Between Civil Court and Criminal Court

The basis of a civil case involves you claiming that another person entity that has failed to carry out their legal duty. In civil cases, both the plaintiff and defendant are known as parties.

To file a civil lawsuit in a federal court, you must file a complaint which details any damages and proves that the defendant is responsible. The complaint also shows that the court has jurisdiction over the case and asks the court to order relief.

You will have the option to seek financial compensation for your distress or ask the court to order the defendant to cease any harmful conduct. The court can also declare that the plaintiff is entitled to their legal rights, depending on the situation.

Some crimes could face both civil and criminal charges. For example, the victim of assault could sue their attacker for injuries while criminal proceedings are taking place.

Unlike a criminal case, a civil case can either be resolved by a judge directly or presented to a jury in more severe cases. Regarding the burden of proof, civil cases are decided on what is known as a “preponderance of evidence.” In simple terms, it comes down to whether the judge or jury finds your argument more believable than the defendants.

If you are the victim of a criminal act, you have no responsibility to file a criminal case. Victims of crime do not need to fear the results of any criminal proceedings, in most cases.

In a criminal court, the government will file a case against you for breaking the law. The government must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you, which is a high standard to meet.

Once convicted in a criminal court, the judge could subject you to a variety of potential penalties. These penalties include paying a fine, ordering you to perform community service or even serve time in jail. To learn more about your risks, contact Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat today.

If You Are Facing a Civil or Criminal Case, Don’t Face It Alone

Knowing the differences between civil law and criminal law can help you stay out of jail or get what you are owed. To achieve your goals, make sure you have the benefit of an experienced legal team before you proceed. Keep browsing our website today for more articles like this!

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