The press has been inundated with big and sensational criminal law cases. Many people have heard of these kinds of cases, but the lesser known civil law case leaves many people baffled. What is the difference between a criminal law case and a civil law case? The reason why the criminal law cases get such big coverage is that they’re usually much more sensational and receive the kind of conversation generated that news stories are supposed to do. Civil cases, in contrast, don’t have as many shocking twists and turns and the stakes aren’t nearly as high. But there are more differences between both sorts of cases, as you will see.
One of the biggest differences between a criminal and civil law case are the punishments that are meted out. Depending on the severity of the crime, a person charged in a criminal law case has much more in danger. If found guilty, a person accused in a criminal law case can be jailed for a very long time and also face the death penalty. The offenses in a criminal case are divided into two categories. The first is categorized as felonies and can carry the most severe of penalties. The next category of law would be the misdemeanors. These are smaller infractions and result in lighter punishments. At the peak of the list of felonies is the first-degree murder charge. This comes with the possibility of the most severe forms of punishment. A person found guilty of a misdemeanor will most likely receive punishment in the form of fines, probation or a short time in jail.
In a civil law case, the person charged will never get a punishment like a person convicted in a criminal law case; even when the crime is just as severe. A person involved in a civil law case can never be sentenced to some jail time, no matter how short. Cash, or damages, are what is being sought in a civil law case.
Additionally, there are differences in the way a case will be laid out in a civil law case versus a criminal law case. In criminal law cases, the plaintiff must build the case against the defendant and establish guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt. The defendant is deemed innocent before this burden of proof was acquired, and a jury was convinced of the guilt. In a civil case, the burden of proof is much less. If a jury finds that it is reasonably possible for the defendant to be guilty, then that’s the verdict that will be handed down. The burden of proof need only be above 50 percent in a civil law case. If the dеfеndаnt іs fоund guіltу аnd оrdеrеd tо pay a large sum, the plaintiff may never see this money in the event the defendant does not have it. These gaps remain, even if the crime committed is the same.
If you have questions regarding civil law please give us a call at (904)777-7777 to speak with our Civil Law Attorneys today!