There are numerous crimes that are heard in various courts systems. Not all criminal cases go to trial, and not all cases involve capital offenses. In civil court, you are neither guilty nor innocent, but can be found, through a preponderance of the evidence, to be negligent and liable for injuries caused. Civil lawsuits involve a plaintiff seeking monetary damages for an injury caused.
You are working as a paralegal in a law firm and receive a call from a potential client. The client informs you that her 18-year-old son was out with his friends last night around 11 PM and they were fooling around, throwing a football outside of a restaurant. Her son broke the front window of the restaurant. She is concerned that her son may be arrested and incarcerated for a lengthy sentence. She is also concerned about being sued by the restaurant owner. Based on what you know about the differences between criminal and civil law and capital and noncapital offenses, respond to this client’s concerns by addressing the following questions in a 1–2-page response:
- What is the difference between civil law and criminal law?
- Describe to the client the varying levels of proof in a criminal trial, and in a civil lawsuit.
- What are the differences between civil and criminal court?
- What are the differences between noncapital and capital offenses, and how would this allay the client’s concerns related to a lengthy sentence for her son?