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.

Differences Between a General Practice Attorney and a Criminal Law Attorney

For those not in the law field, understanding the difference between different kinds of lawyers can be difficult. Here we'll take a look at some of things that differentiate a DUI lawyer from other types of attorneys who specialize in fields such as corporate or trademark law.

First, consider the two basic areas of law: civil and criminal. Many legal matters fall under the category of civil law. For example, a couple going through a divorce would enlist an attorney who specializes in divorce and would proceed through the civil legal system. Other areas, which fall under the area of civil law, include family, workers rights, and personal injury, among many others. If neighbors go to court over a dispute or separated parents work to create a custody agreement, these cases fall under civil law.

Criminal law, on the other hand, encompasses issues such as robbery, assault, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A DUI lawyer falls under the category of legal professionals who work under criminal law.

All attorneys follow the same initial steps as they prepare for a career in the legal field. Aspiring law school students take the Law School Admission Tests (LSATS), sometimes more than once. This exam's grade, along with their education transcripts and other admissions materials, influences which universities accept them in the school's law program. After finishing years one and two, students begin to take courses more specific to the area of law in which they want to practice. It is at this point that those pursuing a criminal law path will take classes specific to criminal law and even to the topic, for example driving under the influence, that interests them. As with any industry, gaining internship experience during the final years of college is critical for an aspiring DUI lawyer. Experienced members of the field suggest pursuing opportunities with law firms or government agencies. It is during this final phase of their formal education that a criminal attorney learns skills and procedures specific to criminal law. The final requirement for all new lawyers before they can begin to practice is that they must take the bar exam and pass.

Criminal attorneys are required to have a certain set of skills unlike what most civil attorneys may need. In this area of the law it's not uncommon for cases to end up in the courtroom and even be subjected to a lengthy trial. These legal professionals must have strong debate skills and be able to craft a well-executed plan for the proceedings. They need to think quickly on their feet and anticipate possible bumps in the road and respond appropriately. A criminal defense lawyer, for example, must be prepared for new evidence to be submitted to the court unexpectedly, while a DUI lawyer has to know how to respond to claims of mental distress being brought before the judge.

All lawyers are expected to possess a base set of skills and habits that are required in their field: dedication to each of their clients' cases, keeping up-to-date on changes in the law, and staying well-versed in the latest legal findings, just to name a few. Like all professions, those specializing in a certain area of the law owe it to their clients to place special focus on the topics and skills that matter most in their area of expertise.

The Basics of Criminal Law

In its most basic breakdown, the law is largely broken down into two categories: civil law and criminal law. For a civil law matter, individuals often enlist the services of an attorney who practices in the specific area that relates to the case. Examples include attorneys who specialize in family law, bankruptcy, workers rights, or personal injury. On the other hand, people involved in a criminal law case hire a criminal attorney to fight for them in court.

Individuals involved in a criminal legal case may appear in court on a number of occasions. There are many types of activities that take place in the court room, including arraignments, preliminary hearings, trials, motions, sentencing, and others. Here's a quick review of these basic courtroom activities:

During an arraignment, a person who has been charged in a legal case hears the charges brought against them.

A preliminary hearing often takes place to review whether guidelines of a parole have been violated.

A trial is the formal process in which evidence is presented and reviewed in a criminal or civil case. The evidence is typically presented to one or more judges and a jury.

Motions are brought to the court in order to request that the judge make an immediate decision on a particular aspect of the case. For example, a "motion to dismiss," might claim that the entire case should be thrown out because the appropriate statute of limitations has expired.

Sentencing is the part of the case where a defendant who has been deemed guilty in a case is notified of his or her sentence.

Within the realm of criminal law, there are three major types of cases. The first group are known as infraction crimes. Even if found guilty of an infraction crime, jail time is not a possible sentencing. The most common type of infraction crimes are vehicle moving violations, which includes speeding tickets. Another group of crimes that fall under the category of criminal law are misdemeanor crimes, which include many acts ranging from prostitution to petty crime. Vandalism, spousal abuse, and drunk driving also fall into this category. Sentencing for misdemeanors may include jail time and fines. The final category of felony crimes include the heaviest of charges, including murder, robbery, and rape. Significant jail time and even death, in some states, may be sentenced in these cases. The consequences of being found guilty in a criminal law case can be severe, so defendants in these cases rely heavily on their criminal attorney.

As noted above, there are many types of legal cases that fall under the category of criminal law. Everything from a simple traffic violation to a potential homicide are covered under this broad-reaching area of the law. A criminal attorney may specialize in just one of these categories or may practice across the entire spectrum. It's important to note that a conviction in a criminal law case is likely to stay on an individual's record permanently.