Defining Criminal Negligence

To begin, understanding the differences between civil and criminal charges can be critical for your court proceedings. If you or a loved one is being charged with negligence, you have an atypical case. In a civil suit, the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant was negligent. In criminal negligence cases, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant acted with intent or recklessness.

In criminal law, negligence carries a lesser degree of culpability than recklessness. Some courts have explained that reckless conduct requires that the defendant be capable of appreciating the risk in question. At the same time, criminal negligence occurs when the defendant should have been aware of the risk.

Court Procedure for Proving Criminal Negligence Cases

In a criminal negligence case, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted in a way that warrants a criminal negligence charge. The phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt” refers to the highest standard of proof in a court of law. In this instance, it means that there can be no other logical explanation for the defendant’s actions but that they were aware of the risk but acted in a way that put others in harm regardless.

Punishment and Consequences in Civil and Criminal Negligence Cases

In civil matters, if a defendant is found to have acted with negligence, they have to pay damages. These are usually monies paid to the plaintiff to compensate that party for any injuries. In criminal cases, criminally negligent parties can receive punishments such as incarceration, fines, probation, or community service.

How Will My Lawyer Defend Against Criminal Charges?

Defense lawyers use several tactics to challenge allegations that an accused acted with criminal negligence. These include things such as showing that the accused committed an act as a result of a mistake or accident; proving that the defendant did not know or should not have known that their actions created a risk of harm; and/or demonstrating that the accused exercised reasonable care.

The defense requires a showing that the defendant’s conduct was more than mere carelessness or a mistake in judgment. To meet this burden, a defendant must show that their actions were not outrageous or reckless. In addition, a defendant is not criminally negligent if he or she used reasonable care to avoid causing harm to victims in his case. An assertion that one took measures to mitigate damages always acts as a justification and defense.

Do You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

A wide range of behaviors can constitute criminal negligence, and state laws on the matter often differ. A conviction can result in a prison sentence or a fine, depending on whether the defendant acted intentionally, recklessly, or negligently.

If you are facing these charges, it may be wise to seek legal advice from a local attorney with experience handling criminal cases. Our experts at The Bantner Firm would be more than capable of examining and handling your case’s unique circumstances.