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The Difference Between Prosecution And Plaintiff

Court procedures can be confusing and frustrating to many, and probably the most confusing part about them is who are the people involved and what do they do?

The first thing to know is that there are two types of cases that are presented in the court system. There are criminal cases, which involve criminal law, and civil cases, which involve private laws. Both of these cases have different bodies that represent each side when cases are filed in court. In criminal matters, it is the prosecuting party that files a case, and in civil cases, the party is known as the plaintiff. What is the difference between the two?

Prosecution and Criminal Cases

Criminal cases are filed by the local, state, or government bodies for the violation of laws, and the filing parties seek payment of fines, jail time, and in some cases both, from the accused. The person or group bringing the case is referred to as the prosecution. The prosecution is responsible for gatherings police reports, determining and presenting evidence, researching facts, and interviewing any witnesses. The prosecution is represented by a prosecuting attorney or attorneys, who are hired by the local, state,  or a government agency to present their case against the accused. Criminal cases can be very complicated and may require a trial by jury.

Bail and Bail bondsman

In criminal cases, a person, also known as the defendant, is arrested, booked, and placed in the jail system. To avoid spending time in jail while awaiting trial, a person or defendant can pay a fee. This fee is referred to as bail. Bail is a financial arrangement set by the court, and a bail bonding agency, on behalf of the defendant, can be used to avoid being held in jail until the court date. In other words, this fee is for the temporary and early release of a person or defendant while he or she waits for a trial date. A bail fee can be paid directly by the defendant or paid on behalf of the defendant by another party.

Bail can also be paid with the use of a bail bondsman, bail agent, or bond dealer. A bail bondsman acts as a surety and pledges money, property, or assets as bail for the accused. The bail bondsman charges a fee for putting up bail and is usually nonrefundable. The bail bonding agency is then responsible for ensuring that the person appears in court. If there is a failure to appear in court, the bail bondsman can hire a bounty hunter to track and apprehend a defendant. The bail bondsman also has the right to file a lawsuit against a defendant as well.

The Plaintiff and Civil Cases

Civil cases are quite different from criminal cases. Civil cases deal with child custody disputes, child support, contract violations, property damage, personal injury claims, and divorce, among other things. A civil case is instigated by a private party, be it a person, group, or business. This person or group is called the plaintiff, also referred to as a complainant. Unlike the role of the prosecution, which has to prove a person innocent in court proceedings, the plaintiff in a civil procedure has to prove that something occurred to cause the issue in the case.

Civil cases do allow the use of juries in some instances, especially when a case is more complicated and involves a large group of people, organization, or business. However, most civil cases are very simple are ruled by a judge. In criminal cases, a defendant is entitled to an attorney, and if the defendant can’t afford one, the state is required to appoint one. In civil cases, an attorney is not provided, and all parties must hire their own if they wish to have legal representation.

Knowing the differences between prosecution and plaintiff can help you to better understand the court system and how it works. The prosecution represents the people and is tasked with gathering information to “prove beyond a reasonable doubt.” A plaintiff is a person or group who suspects that there was an unjust action taken against them. While both are the ones that present a case to a court, they have different procedures to handle them.

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