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Differences Between Civil and Criminal Law

Hiring a Criminal Lawyer

By: Johnathan Davidson

Civil laws are the sets of laws and justice that affect the legal status of individuals. Civil law, therefore, is commonly referred to in comparison to criminal law, which is that body of law involving the state against individuals (including corporate organizations) where the state relies on the power given it by statutory law. Statutory laws are laws agreed upon and incorporated by the US Legislature. Where there are legal alternatives for sources of action by individuals within any of these sections of law, this falls in the civil realm.

Civil law courts provide opportunities for resolving disputes involving torts. Torts are laws that address and provide remedies for, civil wrongs not arising out of contracts or similar obligations. Torts include: accidents, negligence, contract disputes, the administration of wills, trusts, property disputes, commercial law, and other private matters that involve private parties and organizations. These may also include government departments. An action by an individual (or legal equivalent) against a state’s attorney general, for example, is a civil matter.

The purposes of civil law vary from other areas of law. In civil law there is the attempt to honor an agreement, correct a wrong-doing or settle a dispute. Any victim in this instance may obtain compensation. The person who is the dishonest party pays. This may be viewed as a civilized form of, or legal option to, retribution. If it is a matter of impartiality, there is often a division which gets distributed by a process of civil law.

Any action in criminal law doesn’t include the obligation to disqualify an action on the civil side. This may provide a device for compensation to the victims of any crime. This type of situation may occur, for example when a guilty part is ordered to pay damages for any wrongful situation (as in a wrongful death). Sometimes, also, for example, this payment of damages may be instead of a judgment of murder.

In criminal law, one may face imprisonment if accusations are beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, if investigative personnel determine that these charges are well-substantiated, the accused will face the charges. In civil law, one may be fined for damages found from a predominance of all evidence during any investigation. Instead of imprisonment, often payment is the form of retribution. Charges in civil cases are often less harsh than those in criminal law cases because the punishment pits money against loss of liberty.


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The article presented here is the opinion of the author. The opinions expressed in this blog are the sole opinions of the author and do not, in any form, reflect the legal advice or opinions of Lavenstein Law LLC. Lavenstein Law LLC does not co-author, nor promote the opinions, ideas, or statements published in this forum. Any information supplied in this forum is for editorial purposes only and should not be accepted as legal counsel provided by Lavenstein Law LLC. If you seek professional legal counsel in matters of criminal law, contact Lavenstein Law LLC. Lavenstein Law LLC is a criminal defense law firm in Maryland.

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Lavenstein Law is a Criminal Defense Attorney Law Firm in Maryland. For professional legal consultation with a Maryland criminal defense attorney, contact Lavenstein Law.

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