People who are charged with criminal cases are sometimes shocked to learn that they might also face a different type of legal action. Some crimes lead to personal injury or property damage, which opens the door for the victim to file a civil lawsuit to try to recover the damages associated with the case.
One thing that makes this so difficult is that if you’re facing a criminal charge and a civil case, you will have to work on two different defense strategies. The standard of proof in each case is different, and the information may be presented differently in each.
In a criminal trial, the burden of proof falls on the prosecutor, who has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. In a civil case, the complainant must prove by the preponderance of evidence that the defendant is liable for the damages being sought in the case. The lower standard in the civil case is because it doesn’t have the harsh penalties that are associated with a criminal case.
In a civil matter, you’re likely to face financial implications. In a criminal matter, you can face fines, time in prison, probation and other similar penalties. It is possible that these cases will be resolved in very different manners. For example, a person can be found guilty in the criminal trial but not liable in the civil trial. The opposite may also occur.
It’s imperative that anyone who is facing these types of cases takes the time to review their options for each. Doing this early in the case may provide them with ample time to consider these and plan suitable defense strategies.