What is criminal defense?
The phrase “criminal defense” pertains to prosecution by the state or federal government of either a person or business for an act which has been classified as a crime by statute. This is unlike civil law, which involves lawsuits between two individuals or private entities. An act in violation of a public law is considered a crime. When a matter involves criminal law, the lawsuit is initiated by the state or federal government rather than being initiated by the victim, as is the case in civil law.
The standard in criminal law is much higher than in civil law. The prosecutor in a criminal law case has to prove to a judge or a jury that the individual committed a crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Under most circumstances, in a civil case, the victim needs to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a defendant is 51% or more liable (i.e., responsible) for the damages. In Minnesota, crimes can be classified as felonies, gross misdemeanors, misdemeanors, or petty misdemeanors.
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