Civil Law Courts and Criminal Laws
The law is law created and imposed by governmental or social institutions to govern behavior, with the exact definition, at most, a matter of long standing debate. In the United States it is interpreted by the courts and the legislature. It is both a science and an art of civil justice. A lawyer is a person who practices law, an attorney, barrister, judge, and prosecutor.
In the United States, in addition to being governed by laws that are codified in the Constitution and enacted by the legislature, there are also common law traditions and judicial systems. In addition, there are numerous important decisions made by lower court judges such as substantive and criminal cases, as well as questions of power, property, and eminent domain. Common law is also referred to as customary law. All these legal systems have developed throughout the history of the country, although each one varies slightly from the other. In spite of occasional variation, all of the judicial systems, common law or jurisprudence, have generally followed a common pattern. There are many important decisions that all Jurisprudians agree on.
First, in order for a law to be considered customary law, it must have been in force for a significant period of time. This means that the laws must have been in place for more than half a century. Furthermore, only laws that have been enacted into statute by the state are deemed to be “common law”. In instances where a lawsuit was brought against another state, however, that state’s laws generally apply instead of federal laws, unless the state supreme court insists otherwise.
Secondly, the nature of the law determines whether or not it is considered customary. The laws that the court will decide upon will generally be developed by state and local jurisdictions. Federal courts tend to defer to the decisions of lower courts unless there is an express exception. In most cases, higher courts review lower court decisions. Because local courts generally have a unique jurisdiction over local matters, decisions regarding what local laws apply are generally referred to as “practice law”.
Lastly, laws that deal with criminal activities such as felonies and misdemeanors are referred to as crimes. Criminal laws do not typically have anything to do with civil law courts, but are instead criminal laws. Crimes are categorized as either white collar crimes (white-collar criminal charges), gray-collar crimes (white-collar criminal charges), or misdemeanor crimes (misdemeanors).
Many people are unfamiliar with the differences between civil law courts and criminal courts. The most important difference is that civil courts address lesser offenses than do criminal courts. For instance, traffic tickets can be tried in civil court, whereas a person could be tried for a felony in a criminal court. Also, many of the same rules that apply to criminal proceedings also apply to civil law courts, such as evidence, rules of evidence, and so on.