The Difference Between a Criminal Case and Civil Case
In criminal cases, the plaintiff is “The People of State of California,” while the defendant is the person who is being accused of a crime. In civil cases, one person or entity files a lawsuit in a court of law against another person or entity.
Civil cases and criminal cases are different in terms of the ultimate result. In criminal cases, jail time, prison time, monetary damages to a victim and a court, and programs can a part of the ultimate result. The defendant in a criminal case may also go through the process without a negative result. On the other hand, civil cases generally only result in the award of monetary damages.
Another distinction between criminal cases and civil cases has to do with the law that is applied to the case. People accused of a crime have considerable protections under the constitution, while the same protections may or may not apply in civil cases. Also, the types of evidence allowed in a civil case are different from the types of evidence allowed in a criminal case.
Finally, in most cases, the types of lawyers that work on either civil or criminal cases are different. If an individual has a criminal case, it’s important that the person has a lawyer that understands and has experience in representing clients in criminal law cases. Likewise, if an individual has a civil case, it’s important that the person has a lawyer that understands and has experience representing clients in civil cases.
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Last update: November 2018.