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Criminal Law VS Civil Law

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A tort actions is a form of civil law, which are intentional tort, torts of negligence, and strict liability torts, the vast majority of legal issues in the United State involve this, such as divorce, child custody, child support, domestic dispute, consumer problems, defamation, and injuries due to a person by another person. You can fine a civil lawsuit yourself or have an attorney do it for you, in this case you become the plaintiff and the other person will be the defendant.

In most situations a civil lawsuit is filed for the purpose of momentary compensation for damages or some other form of noncriminal relief.

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Criminal Actions

Criminal law deal with crimes against society, such as murder, theft, assault, abuse, arson, and embezzlement. You can’t initiate a criminal lawsuit yourself, only a federal or state prosecutor can. Defendant found guilty in criminal cases face fines, public service, prison sentences, or possibly death; it does depend on crime and the state where the trail takes place.

For example, “State v. Hudson is a hypothetical criminal case where the state brings criminal charges against Hudson. Jones v. Hudson is hypothetical civil cases in which the party named Jones sues the party named Hudson.”( David L Hudson Jr., 2010, p. 143)


All though criminal and civil suits have many differences they have few similarities. Both suits involve a judicial officer of the state sitting in judgment, they also require the person moving the court for an order (the prosecutor in criminal and the plaintiff in civil cases) to prove to the relevant standard of proof nor, do they permit leading questions when examining one’s own called witness and permit leading questions when examining the other side’s witness. They proceed by hearing each party on each point as to evidence and law and ending with an order of the court.


Civil law cases are governed by the rules of civil procedure, while criminal law cases are governed by rules of the criminal procedure. Criminal law suits are made on behalf of the state or government, the purpose of which is to punish individuals who comment crimes. Tort law serves private parties, their intent is to distribute compensation to the wronged party. The other major difference between them is the burden of proof.

Burden of Proof

In civil lawsuit, the standard of proof is either proof by clear and convincing evidence known as preponderance. A preponderance of the evidence simply means that one side has more evidence in its favor than the other. However, in a criminal lawsuit clear and convening proof is the standard burden of proof it is known as beyond a reasonable doubt. This evidence must establish a high probability that the fact presented can be proven true. The main reason that the proof standard of reasonable doubt is used in criminal trials is that such proceedings can result in more severe consequences such as the deprivation of a defendant’s liberty or even in his or her death. These outcomes are far more severe than in civil trials, in which momentary damages are the common end result. The major difference in the two burdens of proof is that in a criminal suit the evidence must allow no other logical explanation to be derived from the facts presented except that the defendant committed the crime, thus overcoming the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty. In a criminal cases one piece of overwhelming evidence can turn a case around no matter the others amount of evidence, while in a civil case either side can present a large amount of evidence and the one with the most evidence wins the case.


In certain cases you can be charged for criminal and civil charges, if you injure someone intentionally you can be charged with criminal assault and battery by the state or local government and the victim can also sue you for damages in court in a tort action. For example in the case of O.J Simpson. He was tried at first for murdering is his wife and her friend and he was found not guilty by a jury of his peers. The family decided to suit him for compensation and won the cases. The Outcome if O.J. would have lost the criminal cases could have been anywhere from 25 years to life or the death penalty.

Cite this Criminal Law VS Civil Law

Criminal Law VS Civil Law. (2016, Jul 11). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/criminal-law-vs-civil-law/

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