We tend to talk about “the law” in broad terms, but in fact there are many different areas of law, and each requires a unique set of rules and procedures. When choosing a lawyer it's important you find an attorney with ample experience in the field of law that's most relevant to you and your case.

The most fundamental difference is that between civil cases and criminal cases. Many of the basic principles of the law are the same, of course, but there are important differences you should be aware of if you're pursuing a claim.

Bill Nettles has worked extensively in both civil and criminal cases and on both the defese and the prosecution sides. He has a comprehensive understanding of the relevant issues.

If you're looking to pursue a civil case in South Carolina or if you've been accused of a crime, you need an experienced lawyer. Please call the Law Office of Bill Nettles today at 803-814-2826.

What You Should Know

The fundamental difference between a civil case and a criminal one is that a criminal case involves a crime against the state, while a civil case is essentially a dispute between private parties. This is why a criminal case is often referred to as The State of South Carolina v. Defendant, while a criminal case is given some form of Private Party A v. Private Party B.

Here are some of the important differences between a civil and a criminal case:

  • Burden of proof: The burden of proof the prosecution must meet in a criminal case is much higher than the one the plaintiff must meet in a civil case. In a criminal case, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime of which he's been accused. By contrast, a civil plaintiff must merely show that it is more likely than not that the accusations behind the claim are true. This is called the “preponderance of evidence” standard. The difference in burdens is explained by the differene in...
  • Stakes: In the vast majority of civil cases, money is what's at stake, though there might be some effects on a defendant's procedures or methods should they lose. By contrast, the stakes in a criminal trial often involve a defendant's freedom. The state is often attempting to remove an individual from society and strip him or her of many freedoms, which requires clearing a significant burden of proof.
  • Procedural differences: The vast majority of criminal trials are jury trials. In fact, that is one of your foundational Constitutional rights. By contrast, while many civil trials include a jury, quite a few of them are heard and decided solely by a judge. Furthermore, while every criminal defendant is attorney to a criminal defense attorney, regardless of the defendant's ability to pay, that same right does not exist in a civil trial.

You can trust Bill Nettles to pursue your case with vigor and skill, whether you're pursuing a civil claim or you've been accused of a crime. He has an extensive track record of success in both civil and criminal law and is known throughout the state for the quality of his work.

If you have a case in Columbia, Charleston, Greenville or anywhere else in South Carolina, please call the Law Office of Bill Nettles today at 803-814-2826.