Civil Vs. Criminal Trials

What’s the Difference Between a Civil Trial and a Criminal Trial?

While this may be obvious to some people, many others are not aware of the difference between a civil lawsuit and a criminal lawsuit. The two types of lawsuits are separate from each other and hold their own set of rules and punishments. There are a variety of factors that weigh into if a lawsuit is civil or if it is criminal. We have put together a list of key differences below.

Who files the case?

In a criminal trial, the state or federal government will file the case. Often, the victim of the crime is unable to represent themselves. Civil cases, on the other hand, are filed by another individual against a defendant. The defendant can be a company or another person.

Burden of Proof

For Civil cases, the burden of proof needed to prove your case is much less than the proof that is necessary for a criminal trial. A criminal case will require one side to establish reasonable doubt in the juries mind. Most civil trials do not have a jury, the lawyer will need to prove that the events lead to the negligence which caused financial hardship on the prosecuting party.

Case outcome

One of the biggest differences is that the punishment for civil cases is primarily financial, while the punishment for a criminal case is a fine and/or jail time. Although, a conviction in criminal court can lead to a ruling in favor of the prosecution of a civil case.

If you are looking to learn more information about the difference between a civil and criminal trial, check out the video below.