According to the nature of the crime, laws can be broadly divided into criminal and civil law. Sometimes a wrong committed against a person can be made good by compensation. In some cases, the wrong done is of nature that paying compensation will not be enough. The wrongdoer is punished to balance the scale of justice.
These basic principles determine whether an act shall be considered as a criminal or a civil law.
Criminal law defines acts that are expressly or impliedly prohibited by the legislature. Committing these acts attracts a penalty defined by law. A criminal act is considered wrong against society at large. The state acts as a parent of the citizen. Our rights are given to us and protected by the law of the land. Therefore, any crime committed against a member of the state is considered wrong against the state. This is why locus standi in criminal acts lies on any person including the person who is wronged.
Civil law defines personal relationships between natural and legal persons. It should not be confused with Civil Law Legal System. An overt or covert act done against civil law is defined as wrong. Instead of punitive punishment, compensation in money or any other kind is imposed on the wrongdoer. To initiate proceedings in civil law, a suit is filed against a person by the person whose civil rights have been infringed.
Difference between civil and criminal law
- Criminal law deals in wrongs committed against society and are known as crimes or offences, for instance, murder, robbery, burglary, dacoity, etc. They have solved as pe the criminal law. Civil law deals with disputes between two parties. For example, the nature of Property, Money, Maintenance, Divorce, custody of a child, etc. are civil in nature and are dealt with in civil courts.
- To intimate proceedings in criminal law, a complaint is filed in a police station or a court according to the procedure of the law in that state. In civil cases, the person who has been wronged has to initiate a suit by filing a case.
- A person against whom a criminal case is filed is called an accused and the person wronged as a victim. A plaintiff is a person who files a suit against the wrongdoer and he is known as the defendant.
- Criminal law aims to punish the wrongdoer while the aim of civil law is to protect the civil rights of the people which are also known as personal rights. This Criminal Attorney Marietta GA is a great example.
- The level of culpability in criminal law is determined by the principle of mens rea. The guilt of the accused has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. In civil cases, the proceedings are determined by the principle of preponderance of probabilities.