What comes to your mind when you hear the word “civil?” You think of politeness and calmness, right? But did you know that the same term has a different meaning and application in civil law?
Typically, civil law is meant to govern the conduct of individuals with other individuals. A civil attorney is trained to tackle and resolve legal issues arising from our daily interactions within society.
That is why some people say that civil attorneys resolve “personal wrong” between two or more law-abiding citizens. A majority of civil law disputes relate to interpersonal or business conflicts. Civil law is quite different from criminal law because it includes human behavior that violates criminal legislation.
In this post, we discuss some of the critical areas of civil legislation and civil lawyers’ primary role in society. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
What Is Civil Litigation?
Civil litigation refers to the process of solving civil matters in a court of law. In this case, civil matters refer to situations dealing with relationships between individuals, such as contract disputes between companies or a marriage dispute.
Other than a case being between an individual and the state, civil cases refer to an individual or business filing a lawsuit against another individual or company. Some of the common types of civil law include:
- Business torts
- Civil rights
- Product liability
- Civil procedure
- Professional malpractice
- Civil remedies.
The type of lawsuit filed under civil litigation is known as a civil lawsuit because it outlines a dispute between two individuals or business entities. All civil lawsuits fall outside the federal government’s criminal justice system. It means that judges in a civil lawsuit don’t have the same powers as their counterparts presiding over criminal cases.
In a civil lawsuit, a judge may order an individual or business entity to perform reparations. However, a criminal court judge can only issue a jail sentence. Civil judges don’t issue jail sentences. The only jail sentence issues in a civil case occur when one party disobeys court orders.
How Does Civil Law Differ from Criminal Law
As mentioned earlier, civil law focuses on resolving issues between individuals and/or businesses. In simple words, these are disputes between private parties. It doesn’t involve the state in any way.
Criminal law, on the other hand, deals with crimes. In this context, crimes refer to harmful behaviors that break the rules created within the society to ensure the safety and wellbeing of society members.
Criminal law usually imposes harsh punishment on parties found guilty of breaking the law. Punishment for breaking criminal law ranges from community service to death penalty.
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While civil law can result in hefty fines, the consequences are generally less harsh than criminal law. As such, criminal law usually comes with additional protections for the defendant. For example, reading of Miranda Rights before the interrogation phase is a perfect example of such protection.
Furthermore, the burden of proof for guilt is slightly higher in criminal law cases compared to civil law cases.
However, one thing we must mention is that civil law and criminal law are not mutually exclusive. In some cases, you can be sued and fined in a civil lawsuit proceeding then sentenced to a jail term under the criminal law in the same proceeding or vice versa.
If an individual is guilty in a criminal court, it becomes easier to sue them and find them guilty in a civil law court.
Can You File for a Civil Lawsuit Even When the Wrong Was Criminal?
Sometimes, civil law overlaps with the criminal justice system. Statistics show that approximately 30 million Americans are victims of crime every year. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system doesn’t always serve them well. In such cases, the complainant may choose to file a civil lawsuit against the defendant.
Filing a civil lawsuit offers the plaintiff a wide range of benefits, including a chance to:
- Receive compensation for damage suffered.
- Remain in control of the case.
- Achieve greater justice and accountability.
- Encourage crime prevention.
Civil litigation also offers another significant benefit to the plaintiff; a less stringent burden of proof. Keep in mind that under criminal law proceedings, it is the complainant’s responsibility to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the wrongs he/she has been accused of.
What Tasks Does a Civil Lawyer Perform?
Civil lawyers are commonly referred to as litigators or trial lawyers and usually perform a wide range of tasks depending on the type of violation involved. In general, civil attorneys can help you with the following:
- Listening to your case and advising you on the legal options at your disposal before filing a civil lawsuit.
- Gathering documents and other items that might be used as evidence in your case.
- Conducting thorough research before and during trial.
- Filing the pre-trial motions and necessary court documents needed for the civil lawsuit to be accepted.
- Going through and submitting evidence to the court in preparation for the lawsuit.
- Conducting opening and closing arguments during the trial phase.
- Cross-examining witnesses during the trial and raising objections, if any.
- Presenting legal arguments before the civil court
- Filing motions during the trial.
- Arguing for or against different legal remedies such as damages and compensation amounts
- Handling all post-trail matters, including filing for appeals.
When Should You Hire a Civil Lawyer?
A civil lawyer will help you whenever you are in dispute with another person or organization. Some of the common cases that civil lawyers handle include:
- Personal injury
- Workers compensation
Talk to a Civil Lawyer Today!
Have you been fighting an uphill battle to settle a seemingly unending dispute? If so, you may benefit from the services of an experienced civil attorney. Typically, a civil lawyer will help you find justice in the best possible way. Depending on your case, you may not even need to proceed to trial.
Contact us today and let us connect you with an experienced civil lawyer to takeover your case and help you find the justice you deserve.