When you’re charged with a criminal case that involves an injury to another person, there is a chance that you’ll have to face more than one court case. This is because the authorities can charge you with a criminal act and the victims of the incident can file a civil claim against you.
There are some big differences between these two types of cases. One of the most important to many people is that the criminal case can result in incarceration, but the civil case can’t. For this reason, the criminal case must show that you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt if you’re going to be convicted. The civil case only has to show that you caused the damages by a preponderance of the evidence.
Another big difference is how these cases are resolved. A criminal case is likely going to go before a jury unless you enter into a plea deal beforehand. The exception to this is if you waive your right to a jury trial and ask for a bench trial instead. In a civil case, you may face a jury, but many civil cases are decided by a judge.
When you’re fighting these types of cases, your right to an attorney is also different. If you can’t afford an attorney for a criminal matter, you’ll be appointed one. If you can’t afford one for a civil case, you’ll have to represent yourself.
The outcome of one case doesn’t have an impact on the other, but you need to ensure that you give adequate attention to developing your defense for both. Some elements might be the same in both, but be sure you leave time to figure this out.