The American legal system can be quite complex. If you’re involved in a lawsuit or a criminal case, sometimes its’s best to start with the basics, such as the category that applies to your case. Is it a criminal or civil issue? Knowing this one fact will help you better understand the direction your matter will take as it moves through the courts. Here’s a brief overview of these two types of cases from Donald H. Barton, P.C., a criminal lawyer in Brevard, NC.

What Is a Criminal Case?

Criminal charges are brought forth when an offense is against the state or the general society. State prosecutors file criminal charges in court. These filings must always allow for a trial by jury, although these cases may not always come to trial. Should a defendant not have a lawyer, the state must provide one. As far as punishment goes, a person who’s committed a criminal offense may face jail time. (Monetary fines may be assessed as well.) However, for a defendant to be found guilty, a crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s important to note that defendants in criminal cases are usually given more protections, such as those offered by the 4th Amendment, due to the seriousness of the potential consequences.

What Is a Civil Case?

Civil cases involve a legal disagreement between two or more individuals. In a civil dispute, the case is initiated by the wronged party. Civil lawsuits usually result in monetary punishments or requirements and restrictions against the defendant. Trial by jury is not a requirement for civil cases, although a civil case can have a jury trial on occasion. However, in most cases, court rulings and other decisions are handled directly by a judge. Defendants in civil cases are not granted as many protections as defendants in criminal cases.

Attorney Donald H. Barton, P.C. is a criminal lawyer in Brevard, NC who also handles civil litigation. No matter the area of practice where you need an attorney, chances are we can help – right here, close to home. Certain criminal and civil cases require an experienced legal guide to achieve the most optimal outcome. As the local criminal lawyer near you in Brevard, NC, you can rely on our attorneys for expertise and professionalism.

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