Some incidents, such as car wrecks, might lead to more than one legal proceeding. These incidents might have a criminal case, but they might also have a civil one. This is perfectly legal since they serve different purposes. Understanding the differences between these can help you to determine how to answer each one. Because they are in different court systems, they do require different strategies.
The criminal court system is the one where it is determined whether you broke the law or not. In the case of a car wreck, you might face this type of case if you are accused of drunk driving, impaired driving, or if someone was killed in the crash. Other situations might also lead to this type of case. The criminal matter is what can land you in prison, having to pay fines, on probation or dealing with similar situations.
The civil court system is where the victims of an incident can seek compensation. This can include medical care costs, lost wages and similar expenses. Unlike the criminal court system, the complainant only has to show that you were liable for those damages by the preponderance of the evidence.
These two court systems are independent of each other, so what happens in one won’t impact what happens in the other one. This means that you can be found guilty in criminal court but have the case resolved in your favor in civil court, and the opposite is also true.
When something happens that might lead to you facing cases in both court systems, be sure to find out your options and your rights. This can help you to determine what approach to take in each court.