There are a variety of classifications of laws. One of the most common classifications is civil versus criminal law. Although both of these branches of law aim to stop or punish wrongdoers or compensate the victims of such wrongful actions, they are different in how they deal with each type of case and the types of punishment imposed.
What Is Civil Law?
Civil law deals with disputes between individuals where one person’s actions injured or harmed another individual, their rights, or their property. Civil law also involves individuals or private entities. A civil action can be brought by either a private or public party such as the government. Examples of a civil offense include personal injury, contract dispute, defamation or medical malpractice.
What Is Criminal Law?
Criminal law deals with offenses against society at large rather than against an individual party. The victim can, however, be an individual. Criminal offenses involve breaking the of criminal laws established by the government to protect society at large. As such, criminal offenses are against the society, the state or government. Only a government official, whether state or federal, can initiate criminal prosecution. Examples of a criminal offense include murder, drunk driving, sexual offenses, or burglary.
Filing Criminal and Civil Cases in the Same Incident
In some cases, the same incident or wrongful action can result in both a civil and criminal charge. In such cases, the wrongful act injures a private individual as well as society at large. However, although both criminal and civil actions can be filed in these types of cases, there may be different results on each type of charge. For example, in a murder case, the defendant may be found not guilty on the criminal charges filed against him or her. However, the defendant may still be found guilty of wrongful death charges in civil court and be liable to the family of the victim for monetary damages.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone that you care about has been arrested or charged with a crime that you did not commit, it is important that you immediately hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to avoid a criminal conviction.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Central Valley criminal defense attorney Gurjit Srai, please call us at (209) 323-5558 or complete our online form.