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Criminal Defense Lawyer

When a person is accused of sexual assault, they will likely be faced with severe consequences. If they are convicted in criminal courts, then they are faced with hefty fines, jail time, a lengthy parole, the requirement to register as a sex offender and loss of employment. In addition to criminal charges and punishment, the victim can file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator.

Criminal Prosecution Versus a Civil Lawsuit

Criminal prosecution and civil implications are completely separate from one another. It is important to note that in criminal prosecutions, the court brings charges against the perpetrator, while in a civil lawsuit the claim is brought by the victim.

Criminal Prosecution

If a person is accused of sexual assault, then the matter is dealt with in criminal courts where the court will determine whether the person being accused is guilty or not. If found guilty, then the perpetrator will face criminal punishment appointed by the courts. This may include financial restitution being awarded to the victim.

Civil Lawsuit

Regardless of whether a perpetrator is found guilty or not, sexual assault victim can file a separate lawsuit. A civil lawsuit holds the perpetrator liable for damages incurred by the victim as a result of the sexual misconduct. These damages may include medical bills, loss of wages, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Winning a lawsuit will entitle the victim to damage compensation from the perpetrator. This will often result in a greater award than will the criminal charge.

A civil lawsuit makes it possible to seek justice and compensation outside of criminal courts, because sometimes a criminal charge is not enough for a victim. In some cases, the perpetrator may not have been charged at all, so a civil lawsuit can allow for a sense of justice for the victim.

Standard of Proof

The standard of proof is the certainty and proof that is necessary to prove a criminal or civil claim.

  • Criminal Cases: The standard of proof is much higher in criminal cases, because in order to prove someone guilty of sexual assault, or any other crime, there cannot be any reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime.
  • Civil Cases: A civil case is easier to prove, because there is a much lower standard of proof. This is because there is no criminal offense or record that can result from proving the claim. Civil cases have what is called a preponderance of evidence, meaning that facts brought by the victim are generally assumed as true.

If you are involved in a sexual misconduct case, whether as the victim or the accused, you should contact an experienced sex crime lawyer San Mateo, CA relies on. Because of the sensitive nature of the case, a lawyer is better equipped to help properly handle the legal matters and protect your rights.



Thank you to our friends and contributors at Morales Law Firm for their insight into criminal defense cases and sexual assault charges.