In certain cases, you may be facing both criminal and civil charges in a case. For example, if you were charged with reckless driving and causing an accident, you might not only be fighting criminal charges but a personal injury accident case as well. This type of situation can cause a host of complications for your criminal case so read on and find out more.
Two Different, but Connected, Cases
Although one kind of case involves criminal law and the other case involves civil law, the cases share a few connections. The results of your criminal case could influence your civil case, which will probably come later. Plus, the evidence used in your criminal case could also be used in the civil case. For instance, witness statements, photographs of the accident scene, and other evidence may be used in both courts.
These Cases Are Different
While the outcome of a criminal case could affect your civil case, this isn't always the case. If the criminal case is lost, it can mean the defendant will have to pay the price. In most cases, although there may be monetary fines, fees, and other costs, the punishment will primarily involve things like jail time, driver's license suspensions, and more. On the other hand, civil cases are about money damages only. No one can be put in jail over a civil matter. On a side note, some criminal proceedings do order the defendant to pay criminal restitution to the victim or their family. If that is the case, the restitution ordered could offset any money damages ordered by the civil court judge. Civil cases have different standards of guilt, different discovery procedures, and different ways of resolving things. For instance, a criminal matter may be resolved without a trial if the defendant agrees to a plea bargain. As far as the civil court goes, the matter may not have to be litigated at all if the parties can come to an agreement and settlement. In most cases, civil cases and criminal cases should not be held at the same time. Usually, the criminal system gets to go first and then the civil case can proceed.
What to Do
Don't just hope everything will go away. You must take on these matters by speaking first to a criminal defense attorney since that case is likely to be prosecuted first and could influence the civil case. Take on one case at a time, concentrate on the more serious matter first, and speak to a criminal defense attorney right away.
For more information, contact a criminal defense lawyer.