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Can a Criminal Case Lead to a Civil Claim?


Two men were arrested this week in connection with a Tennessee attempted murder. The vehicle was pulled over in Sleepy Hollow for a traffic violation and the passenger was found to have marijuana in their possession. The driver was later found to be wanted by the Kingsport Police Department for attempted murder.

When we think of attempted murder or other crimes against a person, we often associate those incidents with criminal activity. The people who committed the crime are often taken to jail and charged with a crime. However, there are times when a criminal case will be accompanied by a civil case when a person is injured in the crime. That’s why it is important to understand the differences between the two types of cases. If you have been injured in a crime, you may be entitled to a civil action and an experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine what your rights are.

Criminal Cases 

When a person commits a crime, they are typically charged with a formal accusation. The government, on behalf of the state, will file charges in court against the accused. It is not the responsibility of the victim of the crime to file criminal charges, although that person may be listed as a party, or witness, to the crime.

In criminal cases, all defendants are entitled to an attorney. If they cannot afford legal representation, they will be appointed an attorney by the state. In almost all criminal cases, a jury trial will be allowed if requested by the defendant. When proving a case, the county attorney, or state, will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime.

Once the accused person goes to court, if the court finds them guilty of the crime, the accused person will be sentenced. This sentence may include a monetary penalty such as a fine and/or restitution to the victim of the crime, supervision by a probation officer, or imprisonment. In some situations, the penalty will include all three.

Civil Cases 

Unlike criminal claims that are brought on by the state, a civil claim begins when the victim requests the court order compensation for the harm that the defendant has caused. A civil lawsuit may be brought forth in federal or state court. Another difference between criminal and civil cases is that whether you are the defendant or the plaintiff in the case, you will be expected to provide and pay for your own attorney or do without.

The burden of proof is much different in a civil claim as well. The standards of proof are much lower, and the case must be proven as the preponderance of the evidence, which means that it is more than likely that the defendant did cause the plaintiff harm in some manner. Jury trials are also rarely allowed in civil claims.

One of the biggest differences between civil and criminal claims is the outcome. While a criminal case is meant to punish the defendant for their crime, it does very little to provide any compensation to the victim. That is the job of a civil claim. A civil claim is meant to provide compensation that is supposed to help make the victim whole again to the extent possible.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today 

If you have been injured by someone who is facing criminal charges for their actions against you, you may be also be entitled to file a civil claim against them. The attorneys at Calhoun Law PLC in Nashville can help you understand your rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.




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