When an individual is assaulted, there can be two different types of cases. The difference between the two is the key. There are criminal cases and personal injury claims. Both are similar in ways, but there are important differences that are essential.
What are criminal cases?
In a criminal case, the defendant will be judged by a jury or the judge himself. The prosecuting attorney, which is usually the district attorney, will handle the case and represent the people of the state against the defendant. The victim will only be asked to speak if he is called as a witness.
Criminal assault is normally considered a misdemeanor unless there was aggravated assault meaning the defendant performed the assault intending to do serious harm or cause death to the victim. In this case, the misdemeanor then becomes a felony charge, and the defendant faces stiffer charges and punishment.
What are personal injury cases?
Civil cases, or personal injury claims, are controlled by the victim. In this situation, the victim becomes the plaintiff and is attempting to sue the defendant for damages such as medical bills or lost wages. In a personal injury case, the defendant won’t face a jail sentence or fines if he is found guilty. He will be required to pay whatever restitution the judge or jury decides on to the plaintiff.
Can the defendant face a criminal case and personal injury case?
If it is decided that a defendant will face a criminal case, the victim can sue him in a personal injury case only after the criminal case is finalized. If the personal injury case has already begun when the criminal case opens, this must be put on hold until the end of the criminal case.
One main reason for this is the victim can use the decision of the court to his advantage. If the defendant is found guilty in criminal court, the victim can use that verdict as evidence in his personal injury claim.
How is a verdict determined?
In a criminal case, a verdict can only be reached if the jury decides unanimously that he is either innocent or guilty. In a personal injury case, most of the jury must decide a verdict. As long as the majority of the jury rules one way, the verdict stands. There can be a mistrial, but this is rare.
Should you provide your own defense?
An individual may provide his own defense, but this is not wise or suggested. An experienced Miami criminal lawyer knows every aspect and legality of the criminal and civil court system. They know the right questions to ask, the right people to see and the right route to follow to acquire the verdict you need.
You may try to represent yourself and forget seemingly minor things that can turn into major things in the courtroom. What will you do? At that point, it’s too late to say you need more time. You will have to proceed and hope for the best.
You are worth more than that. You should walk out of that courtroom with a smile knowing you won your case. With the proper Miami criminal lawyer by your side, you can do just that. We know the ins and outs of personal injury claims and can help you get this settled and get back to the beach. We will work diligently to solve your case and give you peace of mind again. Give us a call today, and let us get started working for you.