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This paper will allow you to examine the differences between civil law and criminal law, as well as the state and federal court systems.

Compare and contrast the differences between civil and criminal law as it pertains to the United States. Additionally, compare the structure of the state and federal court systems.

There are two different types of law within the U.S. legal system: criminal and civil. Criminal law involves the committal of a crime, whereas civil law encompasses primarily tort. For example, when you are injured, you have the right to recoup damages from your loss, which is a civil matter. There are different burdens of proof required by civil law versus criminal law. In criminal law, the prosecution must make their case of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil law, the burden of proof is far less. The structure of the courts in the United States is comprised of state courts and federal courts.

There are similarities and differences among the state and federal courts, and among state courts themselves. For example, some states may have a trial court and one or two appeal levels. Additionally, the courts’ names may differ. In most states, like New Jersey, trial courts are called “superior courts”; but in the state of New York, the trial court is the Supreme Court.

So the names may differ, but the function remains the same. There are appeals courts and trial courts at both the state and federal level. But the levels of appeals and types of trial cases for which they are responsible differ. For example, in trial courts at the federal level, judges may hear either civil or criminal cases. But, many state courts that handle criminal cases have separate divisions or judges assigned to handle them.

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