U. S. Government/Criminal Law vs. Civil Law Notes
Courts resolve two kinds of legal conflicts, civil and criminal
In a criminal case, a court determines whether a person accused of breaking the law is guilty or not guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony.
- Criminal Procedure in felony cases
- Arrested - A person accused of a crime may be arrested if the police have probable cause.
- Jail or Bail - The accused may be committed to a jail or released on bail.
- Arraignment - At an arraignment, probable cause is reviewed, the defendant may be appointed an attorney, and a plea is entered: "Guilty or not Guilty".
- Trial - A court date is set and a trial is conducted
- Verdict - A guilty verdict (decision) may be appealed to the Court of Appeals or directly to the Supreme Court in certain cases.
In a civil case, a court settles a disagreement between two parties to recover damages or receive compensation
- Procedure for civil cases
- Complaint - The plaintiff files a complaint to recover damages or receive compensation
- Trial - Case can be heard by judge or by jury
- Verdict - Cases can be appealed
For minors under 18.
- Judges have great latitude in handling juvenile cases
- Juveniles who commit serious crimes can be tried as adults