America is a democracy for its commitment to law and basic rights. Congress is responsible for creating legislation related to criminal and civil matters. Many important decisions were made by the judiciary of the United States, especially the Supreme Court, in order to uphold human rights, and ensure a just, equitable, and peaceful society. When seeking remedies to rights violations, it is crucial that you understand the difference between criminal and civil laws (Allen et. al., 2016).
The burden of proof and the consequences under law will determine the distinction. The criminal laws, whether federal or state, define and punish crimes. These laws provide guidelines for how the state can deter or mitigate a particular act. To address domestic abuse and to penalize those who commit intimate partner violence, Congress passed the Assault Against Women Act. The criminal law is harsh and carries stiff penalties such as imprisonment or fines to deter any illegal activity. Criminal laws also target drug trafficking (human trafficking), money laundering, gun violence and assault. The civil law deals with the individual’s private rights. Civil law can be applied outside the law system, in contrast to criminal. Civil law can be enforced if a person is infringed on his or her rights or has a dispute with another individual or entity. Alternate dispute resolution options, like mediators or arbitrators may also be available to resolve civil law disputes.
This concept of the burden of proof refers to how much evidence is required in order for a decision on guilt or innocence. The petitioner must prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the accused participated in criminal activity. Based on the strength of evidence, the defendant can be declared innocent or sentenced. Federal and state authorities both guarantee adequate evidence that the defendant is guilty. The burden of proof in civil cases is significantly lower (Rossum 2018,). Plaintiffs must prove that defendants violated their rights. The civil process results in assessing guilt instead of finding guilt.
The lawbreakers are also subject to penalties. They regulate how defendants are punished if they are found guilty. Based on this information, the judge can decide how to sentence you. Non-custodial penalties such as jail, probation or fines may be imposed for violations of law. If the defendant is found responsible for civil litigation, he or she pays plaintiffs’ damages (or monetary compensation). Compensation may be given for either subjective or objective losses such as the loss or suffering of a family member or death. Sometimes the panel will award more incentives to prevent similar conduct. Grimshaw v. Ford was an example. The court fined Ford $125,000,000 and awarded $3 million to the plaintiff for his injuries and losses.