Although there can be a fair amount of gray area between these two types of law, the main difference between civil law vs. criminal law is that criminal law deals with people who have violated laws regarding certain behaviors and are viewed as an affront to the state or society, whereas civil law is for dealing with disputes between people.

Civil Law

Opportunities to resolve disputes that involve torts are provided by civil law courts. Torts are laws for addressing civil wrongs that do not arise from contracts or similar obligations and providing remedies (fixes or resolutions) for them.

Torts include contract disputes, negligence, accidents, the administration of commercial law, property disputes, trusts, and wills, as well as other private matters involving organizations and private parties. They can include government departments as well.

One example of a civil matter is an action by a person (or legal equivalent) against the attorney general of a state.

Quite often in civil law, a lawsuit involves two parties who are seeking to resolve a dispute. For example, an individual who has been injured due to the negligence of another person, like a car accident, is pursuing some kind of compensation for their injuries and losses.

It might also be a party suing another due to a contract dispute, like an individual suing a building owner for failing to properly complete the work that they promised, or maybe a builder who thinks he has properly completed the work but has not been paid. In those kinds of cases, the two parties represent their respective cases.

The court will then attempt to come up with an equitable solution for the dispute. In most cases, one party (the losing party) will be ordered to pay damages to the other party.

Criminal Law

This type of law is quite different. In a criminal case, one of the parties is the defendant or the individual who is accused of violating a statute or committing a crime.

The prosecutor is usually the other party and represents the people or the state. In criminal cases, the prosecutor is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual committed the crime and the legal defense will be presented by the defendant.

Accusations Of A Crime

Under criminal law, if the accusations are proven beyond a reasonable doubt you can face imprisonment, fines, probation or a combination. Therefore, if the charges are found to be well-substantiated by investigative personnel, the accused will be faced with criminal charges and will need an experienced criminal attorney.

Under civil law, you can be fined for damages that are found in the predominance (state or condition) of all of the evidence in an investigation. The form of retribution is often payment instead of imprisonment.

Civil case charges are often less severe compared to criminal law charges since the punishment is usually money versus the loss of liberty – jail or prison.

Procedural Differences Civil Law Vs. Criminal Law

Along with the major differences discussed above concerning civil law vs. criminal law, civil and criminal law also have a number of procedural differences. Usually, there are distinct burdens of proof, rules of procedure, and rules of evidence, and usually the cases are presented in different courts.

That is why it is critical to have an experienced Colorado Springs criminal attorney represent you who has experience in practicing in the specific area of the law that you need representation for.


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