Criminal Litigator vs Civil Litigator: What is the Difference?
Understanding the legal system can be challenging, especially when defining between a criminal litigator vs a civil litigator. In this article we explain what these two types of lawyers are, how they differ, and why this distinction is significant. This will help you understand the difference between criminal and civil litigation lawyers.
Understanding Criminal Litigation
Criminal litigation primarily deals with criminal statutes. In simpler terms, it is a process that takes place when someone gets accused of committing a crime and the case goes before a court to determine guilt.
There are various kinds of criminal cases, and some may involve charges such as theft or robbery while others may include more serious offences such as murder. In certain instances, someone’s negligence may result in personal injuries. The common factor here is that these cases revolve around the allegation that a person or entity committed a crime and broke the law, and if found guilty, the accused might face jail time.
So, where does a criminal litigator fit in? A criminal litigator is a person who defends someone who has been accused of committing a crime. It is their responsibility to represent their client in court, protect their rights, and ensure the court hears their side of the story. It is not the same as a civil litigator, who handles civil cases such as contract violations and civil suits. Criminal litigators practice criminal law, where the stakes for their clients can be considerably higher.
Understanding Civil Litigation
Civil litigation is the process of resolving legal disputes that do not involve crimes. It is when a person or business believes they have been wronged, but it isn’t a criminal offence.
Civil cases can encompass a broad range of disputes. It could be a dispute over a breach of contract, in which one party failed to carry out the terms of the agreement. Or it could involve personal injury, where someone sustains injuries due to the carelessness of another. It could even be a civil suit, which occurs when someone sues another for an alleged wrongdoing.
A civil litigator is a lawyer who handles these kinds of cases. Unlike a criminal litigator who works on criminal charges, a civil litigator helps their clients to either sue someone else (file suit) or defend against a lawsuit. Their job involves:
- Gathering evidence
- Negotiating with the other side
- Representing their client in court if needed
In civil law, it’s usually about making the court order the defendant to do something, like pay damages, rather than punishing them for a crime.
Key Differences Between Criminal and Civil Litigation
In the legal field, it is essential to differentiate between civil and criminal litigation, as each has its own standards, procedures, and potential outcomes. We are going to look into these key differences to give you a clear understanding of what separates criminal litigation from civil litigation and why it is important.
Criminal Cases and Legal Standards
Criminal cases must meet a strict standard. The Crown attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This requires a great deal of solid evidence. They must persuade the jury that the only plausible explanation for the facts is the defendant’s guilt.
Civil Cases and Legal Standards
The “preponderance of the evidence” is the standard employed in civil court proceedings. It is a legal term essentially suggesting that something is more probable than not. In other words, a civil litigator is not required to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. They need only demonstrate that their version of events is more likely.
Parties Involved and Legal Representation
In criminal proceedings, the government, represented by a Crown attorney, files charges against the alleged offender. In contrast, civil cases involve disputes between individuals or businesses. A civil litigator can either represent the plaintiff (the party who filed the lawsuit) or the defendant (the party who is defending against the lawsuit) in criminal or civil litigation proceedings.
Potential Penalties and Remedies
Regarding penalties, criminal litigation may result in imprisonment, monetary penalties, or community service for a convicted defendant. Civil litigation, on the other hand, typically concludes with the court ordering the defendant to do something, such as pay the plaintiff money. This payment is referred to as “damages” and is intended to compensate the plaintiff for any loss or harm. The intent here is to make things right, not to punish a criminal.
Choosing the Right Lawyer for Your Case
Choosing the right lawyer for your case can make a big difference. You’ll want a seasoned criminal defence lawyer if you face criminal charges. A skilled civil litigator is crucial if you’re dealing with a civil case, like a breach of contract or a personal injury case. Consider their expertise, how many similar cases they’ve handled, and how comfortable you feel with them.
Expertise and experience are crucial. A lawyer with extensive experience in your type of case will be familiar with the nuances of the law and how to navigate the system. Whether in criminal or civil litigation, they will know how to effectively defend your rights. Remember that the lawyer’s track record can indicate how well they will handle your case. Ensure that you have faith in their abilities prior to making a decision.
There are many differences between criminal and civil litigation, ranging from the types of cases handled to the penalties imposed. Regardless of whether you’re facing a criminal charge or a civil dispute, the right lawyer is essential. Keep in mind this is a guide. Consult a qualified lawyer like Allan Rouben for advice tailored to your specific situation.