In the American legal system, there are two different types of cases : criminal and civil. Each has its own separate set of laws and punishments.
Criminal cases involve actions which are dangerous to the society as a whole, such as a murder, rape, or theft. Criminal cases are prosecuted either by the state government or by the federal government, depending on what law was broken. In criminal cases, people who are accused of crimes are found guilty or not guilty. If someone is found guilty in a criminal case, they may have to pay a fine or go to jail.
Civil cases deal with actions between individual citizens or organizations. Cases are filed by a person or an organization against another person or organization. Civil cases include: broken contracts, divorce, child custody matters, and real estate matters. Civil cases do not involve jail time, but may involve fines.
Disclaimer: Information on this page is not legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information is intended to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For individual cases, please consult an attorney.