What is the difference between civil and criminal cases

I am frequently asked to explain the difference between the criminal courts and the civil courts.  This often comes up when the same wrongful act  results in proceedings in both types of courts.  One example of this is when a drunk driver causes serious injury.

In such a case, the intoxicated motorist has committed a crime which the District Attorney may prosecute in the criminal courts on behalf of the public at large, or “the Commonwealth.”  This might result in criminal conviction and prison sentence, for example.

At the same time, the person who was injured might choose to file a private civil lawsuit on her own behalf seeking money to compensate her for her injuries.  Such a lawsuit would be filed through a private attorney in the civil courts.

If you have been injured due to the wrongful conduct of another person, whether that conduct was careless or criminal in nature, I recommend you call an experienced lawyer for advice.  I have been handling personal injury cases in Bucks County for more than 30 years.  I would be happy to try to help.

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