Difference of civil & criminal cases

The difference between a civil and criminal case:

  • A criminal case involves the state bringing charges against the defendant.
  • A civil case involves the victim initiating the proceedings.
  • In a criminal case, the state brings charges against the defendant. In a civil case the victim starts the legal action.
  • In civil rules of proceedings, the burden of proof is less strict. In other words the defendant must be found responsible only by a preponderance of the evidence. In addition the jury’s decision need not be unanimous for the defendant to be found responsible. In criminal court the defendant must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Civil courts administer fines and penalties instead of prison sentences like criminal court.

If you are sued it is important that in civil court papers are filed immediately. Contact your local civil defense attorney as soon as possible.