What is the difference between civil cases and criminal cases?

What is the difference between civil cases and criminal cases?

It wouldn’t make sense for a
defendant in a contract dispute to have the same kind
of trial as, say, Jason. That’s why the courts
in this country split cases into
two categories– civil and criminal. A civil case is when one
person, the plaintiff, brings legal action
against another person who has allegedly wronged them–
the defendant– with the intent of collecting damages. Damages equals money. A criminal case is where a
government prosecutes someone to prove them guilty
of committing a crime, like a car thief. The victim of this
crime is often a witness in the government’s
case against the accused, as well as any eyewitnesses. In a civil case,
the court can judge that a defendant
owes the plaintiff money, or other
property, or must perform a service that was promised. Mostly, though, it’s money. Reimbursement, compensation,
or punitive damages. However, a judge in a civil
case cannot send a defendant to jail, barring
a few exceptions, usually regarding the
intentional violation of court orders. In a criminal case, either
the prosecutor or a grand jury initiates the proceedings. Punishment for
guilty defendants can range from fines,
community service, or educational classes, to
much more serious consequences, such as jail time. And anyone, including
the defendant, can be called as a
witness in a civil case, whereas in a criminal case,
they cannot be forced to. Also, criminal cases
generally have a higher burden of proof than civil cases. This is mainly because a
person’s freedom is at stake. Prosecutors have to work that
much harder to show guilt. They must prove
that the defendant is guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt. A plaintiff in a
civil case, however, only needs to prove
that they should win by a preponderance
of the evidence. Preponderance just means the
greater amount, or weight, of the evidence when
taking into account the believability
of that evidence. For more details on the
differences between types of cases, or anything having
to do with court in any way, Legal You is your
go-to resource.


  1. Post
    Liz King

    The difference between civil law and criminal law turns on the difference between two different objectives, which the law seeks to pursue redress or punishment. http://www.similaritiesanddifferences.info/difference-between-civil-law-and-criminal-law/

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    Say, if a person is considered guilty in a civil case, does it make him a criminal?
    — is he/needed required to declare as such in, say, 'criminal charges' column in the job employment form?

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    matthew asher

    All crimes are sins but not all sins are crimes how can you tell the difference? It is in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America it is a secret code that has been given It is on you tube the formula of life under name matt asher.

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    What crap. it is the difference between legal and lawful, to break the law is to commit a crime. to break legislation is an offence as there is no victim. that's why its offensive hence called an offence. one is government court and the other is the people court, thus a jury. hence the people vs O J Simpson case. all legislation is civil law, the government even employed its own lawyers called the police. or government policy enforcer. they claim legislation is the law but the government will never enforce it for you, only against you. thus you only have rights if you can afford to enforce them AKA get your own policy enforcer / lawyer. I find it incredible that the government call legislation law, is legislation given the force of law by the consent of the governed or is it made law by the consent of the governed….. thats right force of law, not making it law. the things they dont want you to know. lol. legal government , lawful is the people, and oh yeah, the common law or peoples law stands with or with out government legislation. if the government fell tomorrow There would be no offences but there would still be crimes and a court to prosecute law breakers. its to make you feel as though you are truly dependant on government, no government no law. or so they want you to believe. to get power over you, they will never accept that you have not consented to being governed (signed the electoral register form). because to live lawfully without legal grants you freedoms against the rich. no longer can it be their legally owned land and you can live on any land you like and build a house, or spend your entire life in full time employment paying for a house you could build yourself in 5 year max. in england the first land registry was called by the people (the dooms day book.)

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    md salanur

    What a great video about on difference between civil cases and criminal cases. Truly Awesome …… https://plus.google.com/110025864083603300052/about?hl=enPleasanton

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    what if the defendant successfully won the criminal case? example self-defense shooting someone. will he/she get compensation?

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    Qais Yousef

    Say if you didnt agree with what the court agreed to you could appellate to the a court right but could you appellate from circuit cour directly to supreme court

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