Skip to main content

When it comes to assault cases, there are two potential outcomes that may befall the defendant: criminal charges or cicil lawsuit. Though the crimes are similar, both the circumstances and the way they are handled after the inciting incident are different. So let’s dive in and distinguish between civil and criminal court injuries.

Criminal Charges

In order to be charged with criminal activity, the defendant must be found to have broken the law (local or federal) and committed a crime in some way. Every state has their own statutes regarding assault and battery, encoded and enforced via local legislature. Criminal assault charges typically come with time in prison and a hefty fine of up to thousands of dollars.

If you ever find yourself in a position where you’ve been attacked and injured, turn to the law for guidance and clarity. After that, contact a professional attorney to discuss the situation and see whether criminal charges can reasonably be pressed. Remember, this is the best course of action to follow for someone who may be a danger to themselves or others. For simple misunderstandings, minor first-time offenders, or cases without injury, one can still pursue a civil lawsuit.

Civil Lawsuit

Although civil lawsuits are typically far less serious than the full weight of criminal charges, they can still be a big deal. One of the major differences between the two is that civil lawsuits can be won even if the plaintiff has not sustained injury. If they are made to feel unsafe or that harm was imminent, then their case has legs. Simple negligence or mechanical malfunction cannot be charged with assault, however. These cases present different circumstances with different procedures.

Ultimately, the goal of a civil lawsuit is to award the plaintiff with monetary compensation for physical, mental, and/or emotional trauma. These types of lawsuits rarely include any threat of time in prison, and plaintiffs often try to incorporate as many parties into the lawsuit as possible to gain the most monetary advantage in the end.


Again, if you’ve sustained physical or mental injury at the hands of another person, seek out a professional immediately. At the very least, you may be entitled to compensation. At most, you may be instrumental in putting a dangerous person in prison. Contact Wayne Hardee Law to make an appointment for any questions or concerns you may have, and we’ll put you in touch with a skilled attorney who can guide you through the process. Keep up with our blog for the latest stories and FAQ’s!