For many court watchers, the O.J. Simpson murder trial introduced us to the concept of a criminal case vs. a civil case. In Simpson’s case, he was found innocent of the criminal charges but guilty of the civil charges. How could that be? As your St. Johns County criminal attorney can inform you, there are different levels of determining guilt. In a criminal case, that level is beyond a reasonable doubt. With a civil case, it is beyond a preponderance of the evidence. Your St. Johns County criminal lawyer can defend you in both types of cases. The pitfall would be to have those cases running concurrently.
The Dangers of Defending a Civil Action Alongside a Criminal Action
Your St. Johns County criminal lawyer won’t want to put you in the dangerous position of defending yourself in a civil matter during a criminal case. That’s because you might end up incriminating yourself. If you “open the door” for a line of questioning during the civil case, criminal prosecutors can bring that up during the criminal case. That’s going to put your St. Johns County criminal attorney at a disadvantage with regard to your defense. This is why your St. Johns County criminal lawyer will strive to schedule these cases as far apart as possible.
Why could these two types of cases overlap? It is up to the courts to decide if there is merit in allowing these two actions to move forward. Often, this will happen when there are issues of finances. While someone is being prosecuted for breaking the law, they could also be sued to recover damages.
Pleading the Fifth
There might come a time during a civil proceeding when your St. Johns County criminal attorney will advise you to plead the Fifth. This refers to the Fifth Amendment, which prevents you from incriminating yourself. As your St. Johns County criminal attorney will explain, pleading the Fifth is not an admission of guilt. At least that is the legal standpoint. Your St. Johns County criminal attorney will also tell you that pleading the Fifth could damage your public reputation.
Put Your St. Johns County Criminal Attorney in Charge
Defending a civil and criminal case for the same charge can be extremely complicated. That is why you need the support of a qualified St. Johns County criminal attorney. The Attorneys at Canan Law has a track record of success in both civil and criminal matters. How can they help? Call their offices today at (904) 849-2266 to find out.