Criminal Law Basics
The United States of America has two types of courts, Federal Courts and State Courts. At both the federal and state level there are two different sides to the court system. There is the civil system and the criminal system.
Criminal law deals with lawsuits brought by the government against a private person or company who broke a criminal law. In a criminal case the punishment for being found guilty is usually some type of fine, probation or jail sentence.
Civil law deals with lawsuits between two or more private individuals or companies. The punishment for losing a civil suit is loss of money or loss of property. Civil suits include actions such as evictions, class action lawsuits and mortgage foreclosures.