Criminal law and civil law are quite the same in a lot of aspects, but they are entirely different branches of the law. On one hand, criminal law refers to the rules that apply when someone commits a certain wrong, such as robbery, arson, murder, assault, rape, and others. Here, when a person commits a crime, he or she is arrested and is tried in a criminal court, wherein the government must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that he or she was guilty of the crime. If so, then he or she would serve a prison sentence, which varies in length depending on the severity of the crime committed. To put it in perspective, if you have a criminal case in New South Wales and you’ve been convicted for it, you can expect jail time.
On the other hand, civil law refers to the rules that apply when a person files a case against a person, business, or agency. This often involves disputes involving money and debts, real property and issues in housing, injuries sustained in the event of an accident, employment issues such as discrimination and the like, family matters such as divorce and child custody and/or support, and public benefits.
If in criminal litigation, the person must be proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” in civil litigation, the plaintiff—the person suing—must prove that his or her case is stronger than the defendant—the other person, business, or agency by the “preponderance of the evidence.” Expert legal professionals say that this is one of the duties of a criminal lawyer– to prove the accused party guilty of committing the crime. In a civil court, the judge or jury may side with either party who has a stronger case. No jail sentence is served to any party who loses; the victim of the harm done may be able to recover losses in the form of damages.
Now if you have been stuck in a legal situation wherein you may most likely go through court, you might consider hiring a lawyer or even property lawyers Penrith if your case is related to property ownership or dispute. However, is it a criminal lawyer or a civil lawyer? It is important that you are informed of what a lawyer who specializes in criminal or civil law does, especially if you are not aware of the difference between the two.
- A civil lawyer represents an individual or an entity in a lawsuit, whereas a criminal lawyer works within the realm of the criminal justice system.
- The prosecutor representing the victim can press criminal charges against the accused individual even without the victim’s consent. In a civil case (e.g. negligence suit), it won’t be brought to court unless the injured victim decides to file a claim.
- In a civil case, both parties must hire and pay for their own lawyers. In a criminal case, the accused or defendant is entitled to a lawyer if he or she cannot afford to hire his or her own.
- The burden of proof is different in a criminal or civil case. In a criminal case, it is the prosecutor must prove the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas the lawyer of the accused must raise doubts so that the judge or jury won’t find the accused guilty of the criminal charges. In a civil case, especially in tort cases, the plaintiff’s lawyer carries the burden of proving the negligence of the defendant.
Now that you have at least an idea about the differences between criminal and civil lawyers, you will no longer have a hard time knowing what type of lawyer to contact in case you need one. It is also wise to consult with your property lawyers Penrith or any other lawyer whose expertise is what you need. If you have a criminal case to file in New South Wales, don’t hesitate to contact a criminal lawyer for legal assistance and representation. Criminal cases are serious legal battles, so don’t waste time and fight for your own rights before they become compromised.