Civil law covers only private cases relating to several private entities. Criminal Law Attorneys work with clients prosecuted by the state or federal law for act/acts classified as a crime. There are three elements most crimes consist of (strict liability crimes are an exception): the intent to do social harm, a mental state (mens rea) and an act (actus reus) itself. Crimes are: a) misdemeanors – offenses that usually cause an administrative responsibility like fines (e.g. possessing a small amount of marijuana, petty theft or traffic violations) and b) felonies – serious crimes that are prosecuted by criminal law and punished by one or more years of imprisonment (e.g. assault with a deadly weapon, rape, murder/homicide, grand theft, assault and battery).
Unlike civil law, where the law suit is initiated by the victim, in criminal law, the prosecutor is the federal or state government. In a civil law suit it’s enough to prove that the defendant’s responsibility for the damages exceeds 51% to bring him to justice, whereas in a criminal law case the prosecutor must prove to the jury or judge that the defendant’s guilt is unquestionable.