Difference Between Criminal Prosecution and Civil Prosecution
Criminal law is perhaps the most complex body of civil law with an enormous range of activities and criminal law subjects. It prescribes behavior perceived as harmful, menacing, threatening, or else endangering to a person’s safety, property, health, and moral well being. Criminal defense lawyers are those who defend individuals charged with crimes. They represent clients charged with committing crimes, misdemeanors, felonies, and even rape and murder.
Criminal laws are categorized into different levels based on their perpetrators’ standing. The maximum penalties for each crime are prescribed by criminal laws, with felonies being punishable by more than a year in state prison and/or a maximum of ten years in federal prison. Some states have additional penalties for violent crimes. This is so because crimes are designated for distinct levels of severity.
Each crime has a unique legal definition. Therefore, there are no gray areas in criminal law, thus providing a defense attorney with the ability to accurately assess a client’s situation. There are different elements involved in each crime, including the element of intent. There is also a “malice” element that attaches to all other elements of the crime in order to distinguishatively increase a sentence.
Criminal law is not limited to state courts alone. Federal courts and numerous juvenile courts also address criminal conduct. In these courts, the punishment is permitted to be progressive, with the maximum sentence being ten years in a Federal court and life imprisonment in a juvenile court. The courts also considered factors such as the nature of the crime, the degree of responsibility of the defendant, the effect of the conduct upon victims or members of the community, the impact of the conduct on the victim and community, the criminal background of the defendant, etc. Furthermore, courts are also authorized to apply enhanced penalties not afforded to state courts.
Unlike traditional criminal law, civil law does not have distinctions based on age, gender, ethnicity, religion, or any other basis. Civil law recognizes a right to trial and argument and the presumption of innocence. Because of this, defense attorneys are very effective at defending their clients against disproportionate punishments. Civil courts allow the accused to dispute excessive punishment.
Although criminal prosecution and punishment differ from civil law, both address the same general issues. Criminal prosecution involves the arrest, charging, and arresting of a person for criminal conduct. Civil prosecution is focused more on the damage caused by the defendant’s actions. In both cases, the goal is to seek damages that will make the defendant pay for the harm they caused. This helps both society and the individual to meet their accountability to the laws of a fair and just society.