Civil and Criminal Cases

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Civil and Criminal Cases

Lawanda Hall

Kaplan University

PA 101: The Paralegal Professional

David Bondanza

There are many distinctions between civil and criminal cases. There are also many differences in the way these cases are handled. In order for us to understand them, we must first know and understand what they are. Civil law deals with the disputes between individuals, organizations, or between the two, in which compensation is awarded to the victim. In a civil case the plaintiff can be an individual, corporation or government agency. Criminal law is the body of law that deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses. A criminal case is intended to accomplish this by providing an incentive for persons to act reasonably in society and imposing penalties on persons who violate those (Goldman & Cheeseman). At the beginning of a federal criminal case, the main characters are the U.S. attorney (the prosecutor) and the grand jury. The U.S. attorney represents the United States in most court proceedings, including all criminal prosecutions. The grand jury reviews evidence presented by the U.S. attorney and decides whether there is sufficient evidence to require a defendant to stand trial. According to William Geldart, "The difference between civil law and criminal law turns on the difference between two different objects which law seeks to pursue - redress or punishment. The object of civil law is the redress of wrongs by compelling compensation or restitution: the wrongdoer is not punished; he only suffers so much harm as is necessary to make good the wrong he has done. The person who has suffered gets a definite benefit from the law, or at least he avoids a loss. On the other hand, in the case of crimes, the main object of the law…...

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