There are so many ways to get in trouble with the law. There are also many reasons why one would go to court without being in trouble. With so many causes of actions and criminal charges in the United States, it is easy to get confused by the classifications of a case. With this in mind, here’s a look at some of the key differences between civil cases and criminal cases in Orange County.
- Generally speaking, a civil case is a private dispute between individuals and/or companies. A common example of this would be a tenant suing his or her former landlord for a security deposit. Civil cases can be filed in both federal and state courts and the papers basically ask the court to order the defendant to take a certain action. These actions vary depending on the nature and circumstances of the case. In the landlord-tenant example, the suit would likely ask for the money to be paid and the landlord would argue that he has already satisfied his obligation for one reason or another.
- Burden of proof is a key difference between civil and criminal cases. Unlike criminal cases, the plaintiff in civil cases initially bears the burden of proof and must prove by some evidentiary standard (depending on the case) that the defendant meets the elements of the charge against him or her.
- Civil cases can take much longer than a criminal case. In some instances, there may be years between when a civil complaint is filed and the actual trial.
- Criminal cases are those in which an individual has broken laws intended to be for the good of society. There does not necessarily have to be a specific victim in a criminal case (i.e. driving while intoxicated) but rather, an action that could result in harm to others.
- Unlike a civil case in which an individual often files the case with the appropriate court, criminal cases are filed by the state or government against the defendant.
- Punishments are a major differentiating point as well. In a criminal case, the punishment comes in the form of jail time, fines, community service, etc. As mentioned above, the losing party in a civil case has to take a certain action to make the other party whole again.
- The presence of a criminal conviction can have a lasting effect on future prospects. Job and housing applications will often inquire as to whether you have been found guilty of a crime. You rarely see this question about a civil issue. Knowing this, it becomes all the more necessary to hire a good criminal defense attorney in Orange County.
Many civil cases may also have a criminal element to them. When that happens, the court can choose how to best handle the various charges.
Orange County has some of the toughest criminal laws in the country. Not only are the laws tough but the punishments for being found guilty of them are too. The attorneys at Finebloom & Haenel P.A. have the necessary resources and criminal law knowledge to effectively fight for our clients. If you or a loved one has recently been charged with a criminal offense, give us a call today for a free consultation.