The Difference Between Civil and Criminal Law

The legal system can be a complicated subject to navigate, but with no shortage of interest as a result of the countless crime dramas seen in popular culture on TV, movies, and books, it’s clear there’s a fascination surrounding our country’s system of laws.

Beyond the glamorized interpretations of crime and punishment seen in the media, the reality is law is rather broad, and it’s critical to have a measure of understanding when it comes to some of the basic principles as applied to our legal system.

If you’ve wondered what the difference is between civil and criminal law, the Law Office of Robert R. Flores can help you expand your knowledge within these particular legal fields and how they can help you should the need arise.

Texas Civil Litigation vs. Texas Criminal Law

Civil law deals with disputes between one entity and another. Guidelines for these types of disputes are outlined in official documents and governmental rules and regulations. Private and public parties may initiate the cause of action, and include any of the four most common and important types of civil law dealing with:

  1. Contracts
  2. Property
  3. Family relations
  4. Civil wrongs causing physical injury or damage to property (tort).

Matters of civil law are usually handled/involve:

  • Outside a court of law
  • Often through a third-party mediator
  • Through a non-criminal trial
  • Payment to a victim in exchange for the suit to be dropped or dismissed

In these instances, a defendant admits limited or no wrongdoing. Criminal law, on the other hand, centers on an individual’s offenses against the state or federal government. This area of law is guided by the penal code, with only the government having the ability to initiate prosecution in criminal cases that are required to advance through the criminal court system.

Such crimes, to name a few, include:

  1. Theft
  2. Drunk driving
  3. Murder

Civil and criminal law also includes a distinction between the type of penalty associated with a guilty verdict. An individual who loses a case for which he/she is charged with a crime will likely face incarceration or some type of probation. In civil cases, however, losing a case doesn’t imply a defendant will be sent to jail. Judgements in civil cases often result in a financial penalty or a court’s order to change behavior.

In order for a party to win a case, beit a criminal or civil case, a significant distinction between the two is delineated in meeting the burden of proof, or the obligation to prove the claims being made. For criminal cases that involve more serious penalties, a higher bar is required to satisfy the burden of proof in comparison to civil cases.

When an individual is accused of committing a crime, a guilty verdict for the crime must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Whereas in a civil case, the burden of proof is lower, and based on the “preponderance of evidence”, or “clear and convincing” standards.

An Experienced Lawyer May Be One of the Most Important Aspects of a Legal Outcome

In an ideal world, you’ll never find yourself having to appear before a court. But life is often unpredictable, and you or a loved one may require the legal experience of an attorney to help with either a criminal or civil matter.

The most important first step in determining a favorable outcome in your case is choosing the right lawyer. The prospect of having to navigate the legal landscape and understand how a verdict will impact your life is overwhelming. Couple that with trying to assess the right person to offer representation, and the entire process may begin to look daunting and impossible.

The Law Office of Robert R. Flores is able and willing to help. Experienced and dedicated, our legal team handles civil litigation and criminal cases with a singular focus of meeting our clients needs to secure a favorable outcome.

We have a demonstrated record for advocating for each and every client we represent, and you can feel at ease knowing we work hard to earn your trust and will be with you each step of the way in your case. We want to be the attorney you and your family turn to when you need someone the most.

Whether you are in need of representation in a civil suit, or you or a loved one have been charged with a crime, the Law Office of Robert R. Flores is ready to litigate on your behalf.

Contact our offices to take the next step in securing the right lawyer for your case. Protect your rights and schedule your consultation today.

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