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Compare and Contrast Civil Lawsuit and a Criminal Case

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Civil lawsuits and criminal cases both involve discovery, pre-trial motions, trial, and appeals.

In a civil lawsuit, a person or private organization sues another party for damages. The plaintiff can be awarded monetary relief or an injunction requiring an individual to do or stop doing a specific action.

In a criminal case, the government prosecutes a defendant who is accused of breaking the law. Criminal defendants found guilty are given penalties like fines, jail time, and probation.

Criminal cases require the government to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant committed the crime.

Civil lawsuits have a lower burden of proof. The plaintiff only has to prove that it is more likely than not that their claim is true. This is called the “preponderance of evidence” standard.

civil lawsuit and a criminal case

If you were injured due to another party’s negligence, call Vanguard Attorneys at (813) 471-4444 for a free consultation with a Tampa personal injury lawyer. Our law firm has experience handling all kinds of Florida personal injury claims including car accident cases and wrongful death lawsuits.


Florida Bar. Florida Rules of Court Procedure.

Florida Bar. Criminal Law.

Florida Statutes. Chapter 45: Civil Practice and Procedure.