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What is The Difference Between a Criminal Case and a Civil Case?

Posted by Michael G. Butash | Oct 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

The American legal system is comprised of two very different types of cases, civil and criminal. Crimes are generally offenses against the state, and are accordingly prosecuted by the state. Civil cases on the other hand, are typically disputes between individuals regarding the legal duties and responsibilities they owe on another. These cases are adjudicated through civil lawsuits and individuals are represented as a civil litigation attorney. Consequently, if you are someone are involved in a criminal case, they are going to need the assistance of a criminal  defense attorney. New Port Richey Residents should know the difference between civil cases and criminal cases.

Is there a difference in outcomes?

Criminal offenses and civil offenses are generally different in terms of their punishment. Criminal cases will have jail time as a potential punishment, whereas civil cases generally only result in monetary damages or orders to do or not do something. Note that a criminal case may involve both jail time and monetary punishments in the form of fines. Because there is more at stake with a criminal offense, a defendant may find it important to hire a criminal Defense Attorney. New Port Richey residents involved in criminal cases almost always allow for a trial by jury. Civil cases do allow juries in some instances, but many civil cases will be decided by a judge.

Which Type of Case is Easier to Win?

A defendant in a criminal case is entitled to an attorney, and if he or she can't afford one, the state must provide a criminal defense attorney. New Port Richey residents need to know that a state provided lawyer will not represent you as well as a hired criminal attorney. A defendant in a civil case however, is not given the option of an attorney and must pay for one, or else defend him or herself. The protections afforded to defendants under criminal law are considerable. Many of these well known protections are not available to a defendant in a civil case. In general, because criminal cases have greater consequences, the possibility of jail and even death, criminal cases have many more protections in place and are harder to prove.

*Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Butash Law Group*

About the Author

Michael G. Butash

Michael G. Butash Stetson University College of Law Florida State University Former State Prosecutor Mike grew up in the Tampa Bay area and graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 1997. He was immediately hired as an Assistant State Attorney for the 6th Judicial Circuit (Pinellas/...


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