Types of Cases
All cases filed in the courts are either civil or criminal.
Civil cases are usually disputes between private citizens, corporations, governmental bodies, or other organizations. Examples are actions arising from landlord and tenant disputes, personal injuries, breach of warranty on consumer goods, contract disputes, adoptions, marriage dissolutions (divorce), probates, guardianships, and professional liability suits.
Decisions are based upon a preponderance of evidence. The party suing (plaintiff) must prove his or her case by presenting evidence that is more persuading to the trier of fact (judge or jury) than the opposing evidence.
There are special court procedures for the protection of persons threatened by harassment and domestic violence. Persons may request protection orders through documents available at their County Clerk's office.
Criminal cases are brought by the government against individuals or corporations accused of committing a crime. The government makes the charge because a crime is considered an act against all of society. The prosecuting attorney prosecutes the charge against the accused person (defendant) on behalf of the government (plaintiff). The prosecution must prove to the judge or jury that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The more serious crimes are called felonies and are punishable by more than a year’s confinement in a state prison. Examples are arson, assault, larceny, burglary, murder, and rape.
Lesser crimes are called misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors. Both are punishable by confinement in a city or county jail. Examples of gross misdemeanors are theft of property or services valued at up to $250 and driving while under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. Among the many types of misdemeanors are disorderly conduct, prostitution, and possession of less than 40 grams of marijuana.
|Courts | Organizations | News | Opinions | Rules | Forms | Directory | Library|
|Back to Top | Privacy and Disclaimer Notices|