Case Types | Case Management | Trial Process | Sentencing | Glossary
All legal matters filed in the circuit and county courts are classified as civil or criminal.
Civil cases are disputes between private citizens, corporations, governmental bodies or other organizations involving the determination of private or civil rights or compensation for the infraction of those rights; for example, actions arising from landlord-tenant disputes, automobile or personal accidents, breach of warranty or consumer goods contract disputes, adoptions, marriage dissolutions (divorce), probate, guardianship, and professional liability suits.
Criminal cases are brought by the government against individuals or corporations accused of committing the crime. The government makes the charge because a crime is considered an act against all society. The state attorney prosecutes the charge against the accused (defendant) on behalf of the government and must prove to the judge or jury that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There are two main classifications of crimes: felonies and misdemeanors. The more serious crimes are felonies, which are punishable by death, imprisonment for more than one year and/or fine. Misdemeanors are punishable by imprisonment for up to one year and/or fine.