Criminal Law vs. Civil Law: Definitions and Differences


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question 1 of 3

Which of the following is a legal remedy in a civil case?

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1. Why was OJ Simpson acquitted in the criminal case against him, but held liable in the civil case?

2. What is the difference between being convicted and being found liable?

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About This Quiz & Worksheet

Most of us know the difference between being arrested and being sued, but do you know the differences between civil and criminal law? Those differences are covered in these assessment tools, including the principles of burden of proof, degrees of criminal acts and types of civil claims.

Quiz & Worksheet Goals

In these assessments, you'll be tested on key facts about the differences between criminal and civil law, including the following:

  • Describe the outcome of a civil case
  • The burden of proof required in a criminal case
  • The minimum amount of jail time required for a felony
  • They type of criminal act committed by jaywalking
  • The rights a defendant has in a criminal trial

Skills Practiced

  • Distinguishing differences - compare and contrast topics from the lesson, such as the penalties for being convicted of a crime and the penalties for losing a civil trial
  • Defining key concepts - ensure that you can accurately define main phrases, such as beyond a reasonable doubt and preponderance of evidence
  • Interpreting information - verify that you can read information regarding the definition of criminal law and interpret it correctly
  • Critical thinking - apply relevant concepts to examine information about the differences between a felony and a misdemeanor in a different light

Additional Learning

To learn more about criminal acts and civil cases, review the accompanying lesson about the differences between criminal and civil law. This lesson covers the following objectives:

  • Define criminal law and describe how it differs from the definition of civil law
  • Differentiate between the burden of proof required for criminal trial and the burden of proof required for civil trial
  • Describe the rights afforded to a defendant in a criminal trial
  • Know the penalties allowed for a criminal conviction
  • Differentiate between a felony and a misdemeanor
  • Describe the type of penalties available in a civil trial