Understanding Maryland Civil Litigation
The US legal system consists of two different types of cases – civil litigation and criminal cases. Civil litigation includes private disputes between two or more persons or organizations. Criminal cases aren’t considered strictly as personal wrongs, but harmful to society as a whole. Criminal cases are considered as an offense against the state, and therefore the cases are prosecuted by the state. On the other hand, civil cases involve only private wrongs and legal duties and responsibilities one party owes to another. Since many citizens of the US don’t understand the differences between criminal and civil cases, in this article, we will point them out. We will explain when to hire a civil litigation lawyer in Maryland and when you would need to contact a criminal defense attorney.
Criminal Cases vs Civil Cases in Maryland
When a person is accused of a crime, they can be charged with an indictment or information. Indictment involves felonies and serious crimes, while information involves a formal criminal charge such as a misdemeanor. In a Maryland criminal case, the victim is not the one responsible for bringing a criminal case. It’s the government’s responsibility to institute or conduct legal proceedings against a person or organization. For example, in a kidnapping case, the victim would not be a party to the action. Instead, the government would prosecute the kidnapper on behalf of the victim. If a person or organization is charged with a federal crime, in the name of the citizens of the US, the government will also prosecute the case. State crimes are prosecuted by a state’s attorney’s office. Certain criminal cases don’t require having a specific victim. For example, if you are driving while intoxicated, the state government will arrest and charge you with a serious offense because you have violated the law and posed a threat to society.
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A civil case must involve two or more parties – one called the plaintiff and the other the defendant. A plaintiff is a person or entity who claims that the defendant (another individual or entity) has failed to fulfill a legal duty owed to the plaintiff. The damaged party may ask for monetary compensation, specific performance, or both. The plaintiff also may simply require the defendant to fulfill the legal duty. Legal duties include only rights that are established under federal and state law. Civil litigation can be brought both in state and federal courts, and they require hiring a civil litigation lawyer. Typical civil lawsuits involve breach of contract, property and neighbor disputes, landlord-tenantnt disputes and the like.
Corporations, Individuals, and the federal government can also bring about civil lawsuits in state or federal court. If a civil lawsuit is brought to federal court, that means a federal statute or constitutional right has been violated. For example, the federal government can bring suit against a hospital for overbilling Medicare and Medicaid because that is a violation of a federal statute. Another example is when a person sues a local police department for violation of his or her constitutional rights.
Civil litigation is a field of law that focuses on resolving legal disputes between two or more parties involved. In civil litigation cases, there are no criminal sanctions. They are usually a result of the lack of well-written agreements, such as contracts between parties, wills, deeds, and trusts. However, even when all the documentation is in place, there is room for disagreements and misinterpretation. In civil cases, involved parties seek financial compensation or specific performance to end further harm. The duty of a civil lawyer in Maryland, is to represent defendants and plaintiffs in civil cases. They will provide assistance to their clients through the process of filing and pursuing a lawsuit. Also, their obligation is to advise their clients about every aspect of the case.
Not all civil litigation cases go to trial. In most situations, the defendant and plaintiff come to an agreement and settle outside of court. If handling the case outside of the courtroom is not possible, the case will go to trial, where a jury or judge will decide who should win the civil dispute. Maryland civil litigation attorneys are responsible for handling all phases of the legal process, including hearings, trials, pleadings, settlement, and appeal. Most common civil litigation fields include landlord-tenant disputes, real estate lawsuits, intellectual property disputes, product liability lawsuits, divorce and custody cases, employment and labor disputes, personal injury claims, construction liability lawsuits, medical malpractice claims, and environmental law, among others.
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