What’s the Difference Between “Criminal” & “Civil” Lawsuits?

    There are 2 systems of law within The United States Judicial Branch; Criminal & Civil.  Here’s a brief overview to learn the difference between the two:

Criminal Lawsuits:

    Officers enforce laws written within a publicly-accessible body of statutes (penal codes, ordinances, building codes, etc.), & (generally) the State Attorney or Federal Prosecutor decides whether or not the State will choose prosecute.  If a civilian is wrongfully arrest (i.e. “their rights are violated”), the civilian may choose to file a civil action against the offending officer(s).

Civil Lawsuits:

    Officials respond to “Verified Complaints of Damaged Parties” (the Plaintiff), & make arrests OR “serve papers” to the Defendant so that they become compelled to appear in court.  If the Defendant Fails to Appear, it would be a Criminal offense. 

The Difference Between Complaint & Petitions:

    Though many attorneys will tell you that the only remedy for civil cases is “compensation for damages”- this is false.  The First Amendment guarantees the right “To Petition The Government for a Redress of Grievances“.  

Related Definitions:

Redress The receiving satisfaction for an injury sustained.

Satisfaction:  The act of satisfying a party by paying what is due to him.

Injury:  Any wrong or damage done to another, either in his person, rights, reputation, or property.

Personal Injury:  A non physical injury that occurs due to wrongful eviction, slander, false arrest or by violating the right to privacy of any person.

Grievance:  A complaint due to injury, injustice, or wrong.

    An extraordinary part of a well-written Petition is that is can provide those who sign it with “A List of Reasonable Demands”.  This “List of Demands”- when written in alignment with The Preamble– can provide relief beyond of simple “monetary damages”, even though many attorneys who work for law firms will tell you otherwise, as they often sustain their businesses through the solicitation of legal advice & then retaining a percentage of the damages awarded.  Here is an example of an attorney who is incorrectly stating that damages in civil cases are limited to monetary damages, although it is perhaps by mistake that he does not include the alternative of “Petitioning for a Reasonable List of Demands“:


Federal Civil Cases are generally governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Federal Criminal Cases are generally governed by the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.


 Site Contents:

Intro To Law

Civil Rights Self-Defense

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Simplified

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How the U.S. Judicial System is Designed to Enable The People to Fix the System when used as Designed