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Criminal Vs Civil Essay

756 words - 4 pages

Criminal Law vs. Civil Law
There are numerous differences between criminal and civil law. Criminal law is defined as a body of rules and statutes that defines conduct prohibited by the government because it threatens and harms public safety and welfare and that establishes punishment to be imposed for the commission of such acts. (The Free Dictionary by Farlex) Civil law is defined as the body of laws of a state or nation dealing with the rights of private citizens. (The Free Dictionary by Farlex)
In an attempt to explain the difference, you must first understand criminal law. Criminal laws are substantive and divided into categories of misdemeanors and felonies. The primary difference ...view middle of the document...

e., desire to cause harm), (2) gross negligence (i.e., conscious indifference), or (3) a willful disregard for the rights of others. The use of punitive damages makes a public example of the defendant and supposedly deters future wrongful conduct by others. Punitive damages are particularly important in torts involving dignitary harms (e.g., invasion of privacy) and civil rights, where the actual monetary injury to plaintiff(s) may be small (Standler, 1998).
Burden of proof is another major difference. The burden of proof is the duty of one party to convince the judge or jury that their version is the truth. In criminal court it is the prosecutions responsibility to prove beyond a responsible doubt. Judges explain the reasonable doubt standard to jurors in a number of ways. Federal jury instructions provide that proof beyond a reasonable doubt is "proof of such a convincing character that a reasonable person would not hesitate to act upon it in the most important of his own affairs." (The Free Dictionary by Farlex). In civil court proof is by a preponderance of the evidence. This is a much lower burden of proof than in criminal court. A preponderance of the evidence simply means that one side has more evidence in its favor than the other, even by the smallest degree (The Free Dictionary by Farlex).
In summary there...

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