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The Civil Side Of Law

 
You may already know this, but there is a difference between civil law and criminal law. Criminal law deals with offenses against the public, society or the State. This happens even if the alleged victim is an individual. Civil law however, deals more with the injuries sustained by an individual, their property, or a corporation. Examples of this are things like:
 
  • breach of contract
  • negligence
  • property damage
  • slander or libel
  • defamation
There are other civil claims and cases as well. There is also a huge difference in how these cases move forward. Civil cases are not filed the same way as nor are they decided the same way as criminal cases.
 

What’s The Difference?

 
The state or federal government initiates a criminal case. These may go all the way to a jury trial, or they may reach a plea agreement. Punishment imposed may be in the form of fines or prison time depending on the crime. Defendants in these cases have constitutional rights against self incrimination. They also enjoy the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
 
Civil cases on the other hand, start with an individual. While juries may decided the case, punishments are monetary and never involve jail time. To win this case, the plaintiff must prove the defendants liability. The same constitutional rules do not apply in these cases.
 

Two Cases At Once

 
It is important to note that a criminal case may give rise to a civil case in certain situations. This is not unheard of. An example of this would be a wrongful death case. Everyone has heard the story of O.J. Simpson who was aquitted of murder in a criminal case, but found guilty of wrongful death in a civil case.
 
To find out more about civil law, contact the offices of Heskett & Heskett in Bartlesville. We are here to help.
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