What is the difference between civil and criminal law?

Civil cases are brought by individuals or businesses, while criminal cases all are brought by the Government against either an individual or corporation. Also, in a civil case, no one goes to prison or jail whereas in a criminal case a person may very well be sentenced to jail or prison.

What defines a crime?

Civil and criminal law are two completely different areas. If you have been accused of a crime, this means that the government brought charges against you. This may be the state or federal government. A crime is an action that is a violation of the law.

There may be injury to the public and can be punished by a term in jail or prison and possible court fees and fines.

What is a misdemeanor crime?

A misdemeanor crime in Colorado is a crime that is punishable by no more than eighteen months in jail (Class 1 Misdemeanor).

Misdemeanor crimes are more serious than petty offenses but less serious than felonies. You may also face fines of up to $5,000.

What is a felony?

A felony crime in Colorado is punishable by a minimum of one year in a state prison up to a lifetime sentence or even the death penalty. Felonies are the most serious criminal offenses.

How is a state court different from a federal court?

State courts are authorized to hear a wide scope of criminal cases and take on more cases than federal courts. Most criminal cases involve violations of state law and are thus tried in state courts, whereas only federal crimes are tried in federal courts.

A federal court is established under the Constitution to decide disputes that invoke the Constitution and laws passed by Congress. Federal courts also hear cases involving state laws that violate federal laws.

A State criminal case is brought by either the State Attorney General or the local District Attorney on behalf of the State. A Federal criminal case is brought by the United States of America through either the United States Attorney for the District or the Department of Justice.

What is probation and parole?

Probation is a type of sentence for a criminal offense that allows the defendant to serve time in his community rather than in a prison cell so long as he or she follows certain rules.

Parole is the supervised release of a prisoner before the prisoner’s release date. This can come about from good behavior.

My criminal case just went south. What can I do now?

You need appellate representation. This is the art of looking at the original case and all the documents, court papers and the decision, to find out if the law in the case was applied correctly. This is painstaking and exacting work and you will need an attorney who is detail oriented and has the skills to track down all aspects of the law that apply to your case. Unlike a trial, an appeal is where a Court hears legal arguments, rather than a jury listening to facts. Thus, an appellate brief is where you, through your attorney, argue to the Court that the trial Court made a mistake in the application of the law.