The Primary Differences Between A Criminal Case And Civil Case In Court

Posted on: 6 January 2018

A lot of inexperienced court goers assume that criminal and civil cases in court are pretty much the same process. After all, both can involve you spending time in a courtroom, supplying evidence, and even giving testimony. However, criminal and civil cases can be completely different from each other in a lot of ways. If you have been charged in a criminal case and will be going to court, it is best if you fully understand the differences between civil and criminal law. Here is a look at the primary differences between a criminal and civil case in court. 

A criminal case is government initiated, not initiated by an individual or other entity. 

When you are charged with a crime, the crime is brought against you by the government, either on a state or federal level. This is itself brings up a lot of differences that would not be part of a civil case. For example, if you are involved in a civil case against you, what the person pursuing you in court says and does has a lot to do with the outcome. But with a criminal case, the charges against you stand regardless f whether or not an individual is involved because you have broken some kind of law. 

A criminal case does not involve you supplying evidence or proof most of the time. 

During a civil case, it is common for either party involved to supply the evidence needed to try and prove the situation in one way or another. In a criminal case, the evidence introduced in court will be brought forth by the court, the government, or the prosecutor in the case with the court's approval. The whole process is designed to prove your guilt—unless of course, your criminal attorney can show enough evidence to the court or jury to interject a reasonable level of doubt about your guilt. 

A criminal case is a much more lengthy procedure. 

When you have been charged with a crime, the different levels of court can be pretty surprising if you have only ever experienced civil cases. You may have to go to pretrial, in which the judge decides your formal charges and handles any motions on concealing certain evidence. You could then have to go to court several times during a trial, and also for your normal sentencing once the trial itself has concluded. Many civil cases conclude after one court appointment, sometimes even before court or during mediation. 

Contact a law firm, like Cooper & Bayless PA, for more help.


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