Civil are also referred to as “parties” or “litigants.”

Civil and Criminal litigation are very
different, but many people tend to forget that. The word litigation means
resolving disputes within the court. The first difference between filing a case
weather it is civil of criminal depends on who can file a case in the first
place. In a criminal case it is the state, who is represented by a district
attorney or by a lawyer called a prosecutor, who is the one that files the
court case. It is the state that claims that a person has broken a
law(murder/theft). The state asks the court for a punishment for the person.

The punishment can be jail, probation, fines, or some other source of
punishment. In a civil case, the plaintiff only needs to convince a judge or
jury by a “preponderance of evidence” that their side is stronger. A
Preponderance of Evidence is when a judge or jury has to decide that it is more
likely than not that what the plaintiff says is true or not. In a criminal
case, the state must convince a judge or jury that the crime committed was
committed “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

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            A
civil case begins when a person, called the plaintiff, claims that another
person or the defendant has failed to carry out a legal duty owed to the
plaintiff. Both the plaintiff and the defendant are also referred to as
“parties” or “litigants.” The plaintiff may ask the court
to tell the defendant to fulfill the duty, or pay for the harm done, or both.

Legal duties include respecting rights established under the Constitution or
under federal or state law. Civil suits
are brought in both state and federal courts. An example of a civil case in a
state court would be if a citizen sued another citizen for not living up to a
contract. Many people
wonder if destruction of property is a misdemeanor of a felony. These crimes of
destruction of property can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the
value or kind of the property harmed or destructed. If the property involved
was worth more than $250,
or was a motor vehicle, the offense is a felony. If the property involved was
not worth more than $250, or was not a motor vehicle, the offense is considered
a misdemeanor.

            A criminal case begins when a
person is accused of a crime and is generally charged in a formal accusation
called an indictment for
felonies or serious crimes or information for misdemeanors. The government, on
behalf of the people of the United States, prosecutes the case through the
United States Attorney’s Office. If the person is charged with a federal crime,
a state’s attorney’s office will prosecute state crimes.

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