Determining whether to file a criminal or civil lawsuit for a sexual assault depends on the specific circumstances and the legal options available in your jurisdiction. Here are some factors to consider:
1. Criminal Offense: Sexual assault is a criminal offense in most jurisdictions. If you want the perpetrator to face criminal charges and potential legal consequences, such as imprisonment or probation, you would file a criminal complaint with law enforcement.
2. Government Prosecution: In a criminal lawsuit, the government or the state prosecutes the case on behalf of society. You would act as a witness for the prosecution, and the focus is on holding the perpetrator accountable for violating criminal laws.
3. Burden of Proof: In criminal cases, the burden of proof is "beyond a reasonable doubt." This means the prosecutor must prove, to the satisfaction of the court or jury, that the perpetrator committed the crime. The legal process involves investigation, gathering evidence, witness interviews, and trial proceedings.
1. Seeking Compensation: In a civil lawsuit, the primary goal is to seek compensation for the harm and damages suffered as a result of the sexual assault. This can include medical expenses, therapy costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages.
2. Individual Lawsuit: In a civil lawsuit, you would file a lawsuit as the plaintiff against the perpetrator, seeking damages. You and your attorney present the case to a judge or jury, and the focus is on establishing liability and quantifying the damages suffered.
3. Burden of Proof: In civil cases, the burden of proof is typically a lower standard than in criminal cases. The standard is often "preponderance of the evidence," which means the evidence shows it is more likely than not that the perpetrator is responsible for the harm.
Our attorneys can evaluate the specific circumstances, explain the legal options available to you, and provide guidance on the best course of action based on your goals and desired outcomes. Reach out today at (817) 335-5100.