If you have been charged with a crime, selecting the right attorney is a critical first step. At MDS, our criminal defense attorneys are here to help you obtain the best result possible through negotiation, trial or appeal.
The differences between civil offenses and criminal offenses are usually defined by the nature of the offense and the punishment assessed. Civil offenses involve violations of administrative matters, while criminal offenses arise from the violation of local ordinances or state or federal statutes prohibiting certain conduct. A criminal offense can involve a fine, an arrest, or confinement in jail or prison. The consequences of a criminal offense are set in relation to the severity of the crime.
Crimes are usually categorized as felonies or misdemeanors based on the nature and maximum punishment that can be imposed. A felony involves serious misconduct that can be punishable by imprisonment for more than one year, hefty fines, and even death. A misdemeanor is misconduct for which the law usually prescribes smaller yet still significant fines, and imprisonment of no more than one year. Lesser offenses, such as traffic and parking infractions, are often called violations and are also considered part of criminal law.
In criminal litigation it is important to remember that the burden of proof is always on the government, and therefore it is in your best interest to speak with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible when defending your rights in any action. A defendant is always assumed to be innocent until proven guilty, and in criminal law the government must prove each element of the alleged crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is a much higher standard than civil litigation, which only requires proof by “preponderance of the evidence.” Consulting with an attorney at the earliest stages of criminal litigation is therefore always recommended, as it helps preserve valuable freedoms and defenses which might otherwise be imposed upon.
It is also important to remember that it is possible to be tried in criminal court and then be tried again in civil court for the same event. That is why our firm is prepared to defend our clients in all courts, both on the state and federal levels, and encourage you to contact us in regards to any criminal or civil matter.
Michael Sherwood email