Comparisons Between Criminal Law and Civil Law

Law and legal activities are categorized into two wide areas. Most people do not understand the differences, but the 2 are quite distinct in explanation. Criminal law and civil law are 2 separate and broad entities of law that administer separate sets of the law and punishment. Examples of the criminal law include assault, battery, murder and cases of burglary. On the other hand, civil law concerns cases such as malpractice or negligence. Therefore, a divorce attorney represents parties in civil law.

Difference between criminal and civil law

Criminal law is a body of law that handles legal punishment and crime of criminal offenses. Civil law, on the other hand, is a body of law that is concerned with settling disputes between organizations or individuals or between individuals and organizations, where the compensation is awarded to victims. With this law, the burden of proof is "beyond reasonable doubt". The burden of proof falls on the government/state. As for civil law, it is "preponderance of evidence", and is usually on the side of the plaintiff.

This law includes cases of theft, robbery, assault, murder, trafficking controlled substances, etc. Examples of civil law include personal injury, property disputes, child custody proceedings, divorce proceedings, landlord/tenant disputes, etc. A guilty defendant in the case of criminal law is punished by fines and/or incarceration. In exceptional cases, the death sentence is issued. The crimes under the criminal law are divided into 2 broad classes: Misdemeanors and felonies. On the other hand, the civil litigation involves compensation for damages or injuries and disposition of property.

In the case of this kind of law, the case is filed by the government, while in civil law, the case is filed by private party. Furthermore, in the case of the criminal law, only the defendant makes the appeal while in a civil case either of the parties can appeal.

Elder Law

This is concerned with legal matters, rights & needs and disputes of the elderly. The attorneys in this case have knowledge concerning the senior population, their unique needs and myths pertaining to aging and competence. The attorneys are informed about the mental and physical difficulties that accompany the process of aging. As a result of their knowledge, they play an important role in addressing the legal needs and requirements of their clients.

For instance, when planning their client's estate, the attorney takes into consideration the individual or couple's health, the possibility for nursing home care and concerns and wishes of the individual or couple.

A Career in Criminal Law

A good criminal lawyer can make the difference in a client losing a business or car license, losing assets, or even preventing jail time. A criminal lawyer is expected to be skilled in negotiation and presenting facts on his client in a favorable light. They will often be presented with difficult cases requiring a great deal of skill in presenting facts in a way that benefits the client. If this kind of career interests you and you wish to know more how to pursue this career, then read on.

Job description

A criminal lawyer is expected to defend clients charged with criminal offenses. This can cover a wide range of criminal offenses such as domestic violence, sex offenses, violent crimes, drug crimes, embezzlement, fraud, theft, and driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). A criminal lawyer can of course specialize in one area and become drug offence solicitors, traffic lawyers or sex offence lawyers, but in general they must be able to handle a diverse spectrum of criminal offenses. A criminal lawyer will be required to handle bail bond hearings, trial hearings, parole and probation hearings, and present plea bargains. They will need to be skilled at building a defense and creating a case strategy, and be able to argue motions, and negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution to lessen the charges.

Skills required

It is essential for a criminal lawyer to possess strong negotiation skills. They will be required to have excellent oral and writing ability, and strong research and investigative skills. They must be able to stay calm and think logically, and have the ability to think on their feet and change tactics quickly if necessary. They must have an in-depth understanding of criminal law and an ability to navigate the criminal justice system. They must also possess excellent interpersonal skills in order to help build a strong client-attorney relationship.

Qualifications required

To pursue a career in criminal law you will be required to obtain a law degree and pass the bar examination. There are generally two routes you can take to become qualified. The first route is via a four-year degree in criminal law or criminal justice. This will include coursework which covers topics such as criminology, investigative techniques, corrections, rehabilitation, and psychology. The other route a student can take is via an associate degree. An associate degree program in criminal justice or law enforcement will require you to have basic college-level qualifications such as English composition, criminal justice, criminal procedure, psychology and various electives. Work out which route would suit you best then make enquiries about courses available. Note that many universities offer online criminal law programs, so if there are no courses available to you locally or you have other commitments, an online course may be the most suitable option for you. As for course fees, if you cannot afford to pay for this yourself, you can apply for a government grant or government assisted loan. Enquire with the university how to go about applying for a government grant or assisted loan.