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A Comparative Breakdown of Civil Case and Criminal Case

Talking Points

gavels judgeCrimes, in the strictest sense, are offenses against a particular state or a system of belief that is universally accepted. Many laymen believe that all crimes are uniform, but they actually have different natures. In general, they can be civil or criminal. The differences between the two types of offenses are determined by the gravity and extent of the consequences.

David A. Nachtigall, Attorney at Law, PLLC believes the public should be educated about the natures of civil and criminal cases. Below is the comparative breakdown that will help you understand their differences.


Civil suits are filed when a plaintiff, or the person or entity that has been aggravated, claims that another person has failed to carry out his obligations as stated in the agreement or contract. To settle things, the defendant, or the accused person or party, may pay compensation or prove that he hasn’t done anything. Breaches of contracts are the most common examples of civil cases. To make it easier to understand, civil suits involve two parties who can’t come to a compromise.

Criminal cases, on the other hand, it is not the victim’s obligation to bring the suit. The accused person is brought to face the government for prosecution. Examples of criminal cases include kidnapping, murder and robbery.


The punishments for civil and criminal cases differ. Civil cases usually result in payment of financial obligations or implementation of orders. Criminal offenses, on the other hand, will involve incarceration as a punishment.


In civil trials, the burden of proof depends on the probability that one party is telling the truth. The plaintiff should prove that in his case. In criminal trials, the accused is presumed innocent unless the prosecution has found pieces of evidence that will prove his crime.

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These are only some of the differences between civil cases and criminal cases. Knowing their differences will help you protect your rights.