Civil Case vs. Criminal Case

In the legal system, there are two different types of cases: the civil case and the criminal case. Civil cases are basically lawsuits that arise when one party wrongs the other either by neglect, damage, injury, trespassing, breach of contract etc. Criminal cases on the other hand are lawsuits involving a party and the state, because the party has either violated or is suspected of violating the law. The state referred to in this case is the government (either local, state or federal) of the country in question.

There are various differences between these two types of cases.

Gravity of Offences

Civil offences include fighting, assault, libel, slander, infidelity, sanitation offences, traffic offences, illegal asCivil Case vs. Criminal Casesembly, prostitution etc. These offences are punishable by the imposition of fines, and in some situations, short term detention sentences.

Criminal offences carry more weight. They are deemed as severe offences that attract severe penalties. Criminal offences include murder, kidnapping, mismanagement of public funds, vandalizing of public property, drug trafficking, bribery and corruption etc. Most criminal offenders usually end up in jail, and even additional payment of fines.

Need for Jury
Most civil cases do not require the presence of a jury. The decision rests solely on the shoulders of the judge. However, almost all criminal cases require the presence of a jury for the decision-making process and consequently, the final verdict.

Need for an Attorney
In criminal cases, the defendant (i.e. the party accused of violating the law) must provide a criminal attorney harrisburg PA to defend him. If he can’t, then the state is entitled to provide one for him. Civil cases do not have such stringent requirements. If the defendant in a civil case can’t afford to provide an attorney, then he is permitted to defend himself.

Certainty of Evidence or Proof
The penalties or punishment for criminal offences are much harsher and severe than civil offences. Therefore, before judgement is passed in a criminal case, the evidence or proof against the defendant must be rock-solid, unassailable and basically faultless. In civil cases, evidence must not necessarily be proven with absolute certainty. Most times, the existence of evidence or proof is enough for civil cases.

Involvement of the Victim
In civil cases, the victim is responsible for suing the offending party to court. The victim is the prosecutor. In criminal cases, for example, a kidnapping lawsuit, the kidnapped person might not need to appear in court at all, as the state is the party responsible for the lawsuit. The state is the prosecutor. In some criminal cases, there might not be a victim per se, for example, a lawsuit involving the state and a public official who has embezzled funds.

In essence, civil cases are just between two individuals, firms, companies or organizations. Criminal offences are viewed as offences or crimes against the entire society. This is because such actions could cause chaos, anarchy and sadness in the society, e.g. murder, or if not checked could harm members of the society, e.g. driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Why You Need a Divorce Lawyer

Divorce can be regarded as one of the most complex legal process in the entire world. The need for a skilled divorce lawyer to help you understand the legal ramifications, decisions and consequences of divorce cannot be overestimated.

divorce proceedingsWhen you are about to start divorce proceedings, a thousand and one questions run through your mind: How to fight for the sole custody of your kids? How to protect your interests? How to support yourself after the divorce? A divorce lawyer would be able to answer these questions and fight to protect your best interests.

The divorce attorney helps you navigate the complex family court law system and gives you a better chance at a positive outcome. Due to his familiarity with the legal system, he would be able to predict any potential complication that may arise during the divorce process and trial. He would be on the lookout for any unexpected issue that might become a legal challenge. In essence, a divorce lawyer helps you to prepare and anticipate whatever is ahead.

The need for a divorce lawyer can become a great one if your ex is a tricky and deceitful person. In every divorce case, the assets of the couple are divided based on an agreed ratio. If your ex decides to conceal his or her assets so as to appear broke or bankrupt, your divorce attorney can use the legal skills in his arsenal to discover and ferret out all incomes and assets.

Furthermore, if your ex hires a divorce lawyer to represent him or her, then it is advisable to do the same so as to ensure both of you are on even footing. You don’t want to be at a disadvantage and be faced with dealing with your ex’s divorce lawyer all by your lonesome self. A divorce lawyer offers you an emotional shield and acts as your representative in dealing with and negotiating with your former spouse.

In addition, having a divorce lawyer by your side is available once it is obvious that you are the one going to end up paying child support and/or alimony. The lawyer, in keeping with protecting your best interests, would consider both you and your ex accounts and income and propose an arrangement that would be the least disadvantageous to you.

Nevertheless, if you are the one to receive the child support and/or alimony, you need to understand how the process and payment works. In other words, you also need a divorce lawyer.

A divorce attorney would help you negotiate best custody or visitation arrangements for your kids. The negative effects of divorce on children are quite devastating and it is your job as a responsible parent to protect them from the worst of it. You must make a conscious effort to be with them most of the time, so as not to give them the feeling or impression of being abandoned. All these can be made possible with the help of a skilled divorce lawyer.

These are but few of the reasons and inherent advantages of retaining the services of a divorce lawyer. The divorce process is a long and arduous journey. Do everything possible to avoid taking the trip. But if you must, get a divorce lawyer to travel that mile with you. It would be a whole lot easier.

Engineers and Lawsuits

Engineering and law are two wholly separate career fields but they often come into contact with each other when engineers and/or engineering firms, companies and contractors get themselves embroiled in lawsuits or other legal matters. Basically, an engineer or engineering firm or contractor can be sued for the following:

1. Breach of Contract

Breach of ContractIn this very business-oriented world we live in, every business undertaking must involve a contract. The breach of the contract and its inherent terms and conditions could very possibly lead to a lawsuit. If an engineer fails to keep his end of the agreement, performs his job poorly or even deliberately sabotages the job, the client has every right and to and would most likely take him to the law court.

2. Failure to pay taxes

It is the civic duty of every working individual, firm and company to pay tax. Once one starts avoiding this obligation, it won’t be long before the long hand of the law catches up with him.

3. Improper or false certification

The world of engineering has certain standard bodies and organisations authorized to approve and certify engineers, engineering firms and companies. Without this certification, an engineer cannot practise his profession and the firms can’t ply their trade. These bodies and their requirements for certification differ with respect to the country or locality concerned and even the engineering discipline. Offering engineering services to the public without getting certified and registered properly could result in a lawsuit and possible jail time.

4. Failure to pay workers

This particular situation applies to engineering firms and companies. Refusal or inability to pay employees their wages, salaries or allowances could portend doom for such an organization. These workers, backed by trade unions, could sue the firm to court.

5. Unfair treatment of workers

The government and aggrieved clients are not the only ones who can sue engineering firms. Their own employees can also sue them and not only on the basis of non-payment of salaries. If a worker or even a group of workers are being treated unfairly, discriminated or oppressed on reasons of race, skin colour, physical deformities, gender, they are very much within their rights to charge the firm to court based on these charges.

On the positive side, an engineer can become involved in a law case, not because he has been accused of wrongdoing, but because his input, knowledge and expertise is needed for that case. For instance, in a lawsuit involving the state and certain individual(s) on charges relating to the effects of high voltage transmission lines on residents in an area, an engineer of great caliber and a reputed expert in such a field could be called upon to provide insight in the law court.

It is very possible for engineers or engineering firms to stay on the good side of the law, as long as they uphold their part(s) in any contract they are involved in, get certified properly, treat employees rightly and fairly and yes, pay their taxes!

Parking Areas and Caveat Emptors

Ever walked into a bank and noticed various sign posts located in the parking area with the inscription ‘Cars are parked at owners’ risk’? These warnings can even be found in hotels, malls, supermarkets and at times, in churches and mosques! In plain terms, the warning simply indicates that the owner of such institutions would not take responsibility for any car theft that happens within the premises. In other words, if after reading the warning, the car owner still decides to park his car in the facility’s parking area, he and he alone is liable for the theft of his car while he is within the facility’s premises.

Thus, one is prompted to ask the question: “What are the legal implications of this warning?”

1. According to legal practitioners, this warning cleverly frees or acquits the owners of such institutions of liability or culpability in the event of commercial vehicles theft.

2. It also serves as a kind of advice to car owners to provide adequate security for their vehicles.

In law, this kind of warning is called a caveat emptor. It is similar to notices such as ‘Not for sale’ placed on lands or landed properties. Anyone who ignores such warnings and goes ahead to invest in such lands or properties does so at his or her own risk.

Caveat EmptorsCaveat emptors are notices that act as an alarm bell, warning unsuspecting or ignorant buyers and vehicle owners as the case may be to beware and be careful. The term ‘caveat emptor’ is a Latin word meaning ‘let the buyer beware’.

However, if car thefts in a particular institution or facility has become a recurring incident and there are irrefutable records to support this claim, then the owner of the establishment can be held responsible because such re-occurrence definitely suggests foul play.

Thus, it is essential that both vehicle owners and organizations incorporate extra security measures regardless of the existence or absence of a caveat emptor. These measures could include:

1. Use of cameras: Parking lots and other strategic places in the building should be fitted with close circuit television cameras for enhanced security coverage of the premises.

2. Security personnel should be watchful and vigilant.

3. Tag System: Tags can be given at entry points to drivers, and at the exit points, the drivers return the tags. In this way, an individual without a tag would not be able to drive the car out of the premises. Some college campuses employ this method.

4. Payment of token: This is similar to the tag system. However, this security measure involves the payment of a token fee in exchange for a receipt. Vehicle owners must present this receipt before they can be allowed to leave the premises. This method is used in large market areas.

5. Have an efficient manual or automated car security system. Cars can be stolen anywhere, either in offices, shopping areas or places of worship. Thus, it is advisable to take proper precautionary measures in safe-guarding your car.

Legal Disciplines

Every career or field has distinct disciplines within it, and the legal field is no exception. These disciplines are specific areas of expertise in the field. Each discipline has distinguishing features, theories and components that set it apart from other disciplines. The following are some key and indispensable disciplines of the legal profession.

Family Law
This discipline spans custody, child support and divorce cases. It includes pre-nuptial agreements and post-nuptial agreements. Just like its name implies, family law is concerned with couples, children and spouses.

Criminal Law
Criminal law is concerned with crimes ranging from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol to theft to murder.

Job or Employment Law
This is concerned with legal issues strictly related to employment. It includes contracts, federal and state labour laws, employment lawsuits etc.

Injury, Health or Disability Law
This discipline is the most diverse area of law because it involves any accident or injury, e.g. car accidents, defective products, medical malpractice, jones act lawyers, etc.

Real Estate and Housing Law
This is concerned with legal matters involving property and real estate issues. It includes real estate disputes, buying and selling of real estate properties, drafting of real estate legal documents etc.

Wills, Trusts and Estate Law
Lawyers in this discipline create trusts, draft wills and can act as executors of their clients’ wills by distributing properties. They can also represent clients who are contesting a will or trust.

Business or Corporate Law
This is the area of law concerned with mergers, acquisitions or basic legal tasks such as contract creation. Business or corporate lawyers are needed in the event of starting a company, negotiating a business deal, filing a business lawsuit, giving advice about the business law to clients.

Finance and Securities Law
This discipline is a subsection of Business or Corporate Law. It is focused on legal issues regarding selling stocks, issuing money etc. Lawyers in this discipline are hired for representing clients against IRS (Internal Revenue Service) claims and filing a SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) complaint against a company.

Intellectual Property Law
This discipline has three sub disciplines under it namely Patent, Copyright and Trademark. Intellectual property lawyers focus strictly on protecting intangible property. They are divided into two groups. One group strictly protects the intellectual property, and files paperwork to obtain the copyright, trademark or patens. The other group of lawyers sue in the event of a copyright violation.

Immigration Law
Lawyers in this discipline assist individuals in securing visas for non-indigenous acquaintances or family members. They help fill forms with the government on the client’s behalf.

Bankruptcy Law
Bankruptcy lawyers focus on debts of their clients. They represent clients who are seeking to get paid in a bankruptcy petition, as well as clients filing for personal or business bankruptcy.

Tax Law
Tax lawyers help individuals and firms abide by federal and state laws regarding tax return filings.

The knowledge of the various disciplines in the legal profession can come in handy for law students seeking to specialize in a particular area. Clients seeking to hire lawyers for a particular purpose can also use this information to select the type of lawyer that suits their needs.