There are differences between civil and criminal litigation. Civil litigation is a lawsuit that seeks reimbursement of monetary damages or equitable relief for harm caused to an individual or group. Criminal litigation occurs when there is an injustice against the “people of the State”. The Government files against a defendant who is alleged to have committed a crime. There are some situations where a case can have both civil and criminal litigation for example in a kidnapping or assault and battery where both a law is broken causing a criminal case and the victim may pursue relief for damages or injury with a civil case. The majority of cases are settled prior to the actual trial beginning with settlement in civil cases and plea bargains in criminal cases.
Begins with discovery of a crime, reported and investigated resulting with suspects, witnesses and evidence to support charges. The Government (not a victim) indicts the defendant for a crime: either felonies, serious crimes or for information for misdemeanors. Sometimes, there is a victim involved (for example a kidnapping) [The victim could file civil charges.] or victimless such as a DUI.
The defendant is arrested, booked, charged, and may post bail until the trial. With enough evidence to charge, the prosecuting attorney files the complaint, the initial appearance usually within 24 hours of arrest, Preliminary Hearing, formal charge/s by indictment issued by a grand jury or information or filed by prosecution without a grand jury review. Then, Arraignment, Discovery or information exchange, any pretrial motions are ruled on next. (These could be Motions to Dismiss, Suppress, Change Venue, or Motion in Limine)....
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...e jury deliberates. When deliberation finishes the verdict is entered and judgment is rendered.
In summary, the differences between the two types of litigation are the reason for the case, either a dispute between parties for the civil cases or the breaking of a criminal law in criminal cases, in civil cases, the attorney for the plaintiff will decide the jurisdiction and venue and criminal cases are set by law broken, they can settle before trial with a plea bargain (criminal case) or a settlement (civil case) and civil complaints are filed by individuals or groups and criminal cases are indictments by grand jury or the prosecuting attorney will file on information, and criminals are prosecuted by the government where civil defendants are represented by defense attorneys. The defendant is arrested in criminal cases but served notice in civil cases.
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