Civil: Criminal Law and Case assembly Process Essay

Submitted By dialgoze1986
Words: 1632
Pages: 7

Criminal Cases vs. Civil Cases

In America we use an adversarial system to solve legal disputes. The adversarial system urges the parties involved to direct their own investigation to produce and to present the information pertaining to the case, to exhibit evidence and interrogate witnesses before a judge (Anne Strick, Injustice for All (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1977): 21.). In criminal cases, the State Attorney’s Office represents the State and has at is disposition the local police departments with its investigators, detectives and laboratories; the defense has to organize and pay for its own investigation. In civil cases the accusatory system works in a similar manner, the only difference is that the parties need to retain private attorneys to prepare their cases. Civil cases occur as a result of private conflicts or disputes, while criminal cases occur when a person is accused of committing a crime. To compare and to contrast civil and criminal cases, we must take into consideration the cause, the proceedings and the possible sentences (Kirsten DeBarba (2002)). A civil case, also known as a lawsuit, is a dispute between two private parties. According the web-site FindLaw.com, a lawsuit may occur when a person or entity such as a corporation or government known as the Plaintiff, states that another person or entity known as the Defendant has not been able to perform a legal duty to the Plaintiff (Morrison, Alan B. (1996)). For example, if a company fails to maintain and to provide a safe environment for its clients and a client suffers an injury because of this, that person may file a civil lawsuit to seek remedy. Divorces and child custody matters and also considered civil cases where husband and wife retain private attorneys to represent them in court in order to come to an agreement in regards to property or valuables obtained during the marriage and to arrange custody of minor children, child support, and paternal rights and responsibilities. In the other hand, criminal cases are caused by the alleged commission of a crime. In a criminal case the state or the Federal Government in a process called prosecution, pretends to demonstrate that a person has in fact committed a crime and that it must be punished and the actual victim of the crime moves to be a witness of the prosecution in the case rather than being the one filing the suit in court. As in a civil case, the accused in a criminal case is also called the defendant. In a civil case or criminal case in order to find the defendant liable or guilty, the plaintiff needs to present evidence that may sustain the allegations made before the judge or jury. The burden of proof lies always on the shoulders of the plaintiff. For example, in a civil case, the level of proof required is called “the preponderance of evidence” (Cooper, S. (2003)), meaning that the plaintiff has the responsibility to convince the judge or the jury that the damages to the plaintiff are more likely than not caused by the defendant. In a criminal case, the prosecution has a much higher level of proof required, that level of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt” (Cooper, S. (2003)), meaning than the evidence, facts, arguments, statements and witnesses presented by the prosecution are so powerful and convincing that the judge or jury have no other logical alternative than to convict the defendant. The difference between the level of proof required for civil cases and criminal cases lies in the potential affliction that if found guilty or liable the defendant will face. For example, reparation of damages, reimbursements or restitutions from the defendant to the plaintiff in a civil case and imprisonment or death penalty imposed to the defendant in criminal case.

Both, civil and criminal cases can be solved without having to go to trial. Many civil cases are solved outside of a court room, this means that the parties where able to reach an agreement with the help of attorneys…