Civil Law and Criminal Law – 18-year Old Breaks a Restaurant Window while Playing

The Case of an 18-year Old Son who breaks a Restaurant Window while Playing

            There are different elements of law that are employed whenever the accused is arraigned in the court of law. Depending of the nature of offense, the accused can be prosecuted based on the provisions of laws that best apply to their case or a combination of several sections. The paper will discuss differences between criminal and civil law, the levels of proof in criminal and civil suits, the difference between civil and criminal courts and the differences between capital and noncapital offenses and how these may apply to the case.

Differences between Civil Law and Criminal Law

            Before the current judicial developments, there were no clear differences between the private and the public wrongs. According to (Pollock, 2017) the modern American law has set a clear difference between its codes of law, creating the criminal and the civil laws. The author points that criminal law is the code of law which defines crimes and provides punishment (p. 228). The criminal law is pursued by the state in the pursuance of justice to preserve public peace. In contrast, civil law is employed by an individual against another person to seek for justice against wrongdoings by bringing tort or civil action against the perceived wrongdoer. Torts constitute personal wrongs and include but not limited to assault, arson and defamation.

Read also Substantive Law, Procedural Law, Criminal Law, Civil Law, Common Law, And Statutory Law

The Levels of Proof in Criminal and Civil Lawsuits

            There are different legal procedures that can be employed for criminal and civil suits. The standards of proof in the criminal and civil suits vary considerably. According to (Lippman, 2014), in criminal suits, conviction for crimes demands that the plaintiff provide standards of proof that are beyond reasonable doubt. On the other hand, the responsibility of a civil wrongdoing must be established through a proof of evidence that is much lower than in criminal suits. The author asserts that the established proof of evidence should be a preponderance of roughly 50% certainty (p. 2). The fact that criminal suits requires higher standards of proof than the suits in civil wrongdoing owes to the fact that criminal suits could lead to loss of liberty rights and a reputation damage and community standing. Owing to the lower standards of proof in civil suits, civil cases may succeed where criminal suits failed (Gibson & Watkins, 2009). For example the case of Kansas inmate Leroy Hendricks who was about to be released after ten years in prison only for civil suits to be brought against him again (Lippman, 2014).

Differences between Criminal and Civil Court

            The main purpose for which courts were established is to resolve disputes. The criminal courts are courts that have been established to hear cases where the state accuses an individual for committing a crime such as arson or rape. On the other hand, civil courts deal with individual claims such as claims against property damage, injury, money and debts (Lippman, 2014). That is, criminal courts adjudicate in order to protect the interests of the society, while the civil courts protect individual interests.

Read also Role of Court Decisions in the Interpretation of Statutes – Discussion

The Differences between Noncapital and Capital Offenses

Capital offenses are offenses that are considered as horrible and are punishable by the state through death sentence. Example of capital offenses are killing of two or more people, killing law enforcement officer, killing people during burglary (Russell-Brown & Davis, 2016). Noncapital offense refers to offenses that cannot be punished by death. In the case provided, the fact that the client’s son broke the window of the restaurant constitutes a civil suit, which is a noncapital offense. The restaurant owner may sue the client’s son for damages caused to the window and any other damages that may have occurred due to the damage of the window. In the case, the civil court on finding the client’s son guilty, issue penalty in form of cost of damages. The court may also demand that the client’s son pay any attorney charges incurred by the plaintiff. Or still failure to do so could lead to short prison sentence or service community or even just a warning to desist from such a behavior in future.

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