by Roger Chartier:
A criminal lawsuit is very nerve wracking for the defendant and must be defended in a vigorous fashion, or the end results can be catastrophic. Despite a good defense, the defendant might lose the case and lose their freedom and assets and have destroyed the quality of his or her life.
Don't fool around if you are charged in a criminal lawsuit, get the best lawyer that you can. With criminal law, the guilty defendant can be punished by incarceration in a jail or prison, or could
be fined, or both and sometimes will face the death penalty. The latter is rarely the case.
If you defend yourself when threatened, and use unreasonable force, or kill the attacker, you could be charged with self defense crimes. There are states that have laws about your duty to retreat in a case such as that.
A misdemeanor has a maximum possible sentence of less than one year incarceration.
The bad one is a felony where the punishment is usually determined by the severity of the crime, and can be much more than one year for a misdemeanor.
Note: Criminal defendants have more rights and protections than civil defendants. In a criminal lawsuit, the state must prove that the defendant is guilty so the burden of proof is always on the state. The defendant is assumed to be innocent before the law and has to prove nothing with a few exceptions.
One is when making the insanity defense. In that situation, the insanity has to be proven.Another is that a crime was committed under duress or in self-defense.You will remember the OJ defense, -"If it doesn't fit, you must acquit", establishing "reasonable doubt" of his guilt based on the blood stained glove as evidence. Let's skip revisiting that trial, but we will say that the state has to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
Every person who was ever arrested might think to say that they didn't
know it was illegal, so the law has a precept that is "ignorance of the law is no excuse".
Good Luck and get a good lawyer for your criminal lawsuit.