If your only education in litigation is from Law & Order, you may not be able to note the differences between a criminal and a civil case. Although their cases are more similar than they are different, there are some significant differences.
The crucial difference that people should take note of is that when a plaintiff wins a criminal case the defendant goes to jail, whereas in civil cases, the defendant will not go to jail but will end up paying the plaintiff a certain amount of money. In regards to outcome, this is the main difference between the two types of cases. One may think that a defendant can either be tried in a civil or criminal case, but not both. However, this is a falsehood; the two cases are not mutually exclusive. A NY auto accident may result in both jail time from a criminal case and a hefty payout from a civil case.
Criminal cases are viewed as crimes against the state, which is why a state prosecutor takes the case to court. Civil cases are viewed as crimes against an individual or a number of individuals, where the plaintiffs seek monetary compensation.
Another fundamental difference between these two types of cases is the standard of proof. It’s this standard that is used to determine what level of proof is needed to judge someone to be in the wrong. As we well know, criminal defendants must be proven guilty, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Civil cases have a lower standard of proof that needs to be met; it’s called “the preponderance of the evidence,” which means that those deemed to be culpable are judged so if it turns out more likely than not that the infraction in question occurred.
If you’re looking for a jury during a civil case hearing, you’ll be surprised to find that the jury box is empty. Jurors are typically only called in during criminal cases and are rarely used during civil trials.
Civil case lawyers identify as injury attorneys, medical malpractice lawyers, and many more. For a New York-based injury attorney call ISK.