If you have been charged and convicted of a criminal offense, this could potentially have a negative impact on any civil litigation suit that may be related to it. For example, if you have been charged with driving under the influence and were in an accident with another vehicle, the driver of that vehicle may sue you for damages as well. Your DUI charge is likely to directly impact the outcome of that civil suit.
It is critically important therefore if you are charged with a criminal offense that you consult with a professional criminal lawyer. Too many people simply plead guilty to criminal offenses thinking that it is the easiest thing to do in the situation without realizing how it might affect a civil litigation case. This often ends up costing them greatly.
Additionally, those charged with criminal offenses may have their own legitimate civil claims and don’t realize how pleading guilty to a criminal charge will affect the outcome of their own claims.
The impact of criminal trial evidence and verdict in a civil trial
The evidence and verdict from a criminal trial may hold weight in a civil trial. For criminal trial evidence to be admissible, the judge will have to determine how much significance the criminal evidence has to the civil trial. There is no set rule as to how this is determined and must be decided on a case by case basis.
If you have a criminal conviction and are also engaging in a civil litigation trial, the other side’s lawyer will do everything they can to have the criminal evidence and verdict used against you in the civil trial. This is why it is essential that you also have a competent lawyer on your side who can make sure that your rights are protected.
Any criminal evidence used in a civil trial is considered “prima facie,” which means that you or your lawyer have the right to challenge it. This however can be extremely difficult as you’ll need to prove that the original criminal conviction was flawed. To do this, your lawyer will have to be extremely skilled and somehow prove that the original ruling was wrong.
Once the court admits the criminal trial evidence into the civil case, it must determine how much weight it should carry. Typically, a judge will also weigh the type of conviction as well – with a conviction by ruling carrying more weight than a conviction by a guilty plea.
Regardless of the weight, a criminal conviction always has a negative impact on a civil defense.
No matter how much weight a judge assigns criminal evidence and verdict in a civil trial, it always has a negative impact on your civil defense. Even if your lawyer can successfully challenge some of the prima facie evidence of your conviction, the civil trial will still be an uphill battle and the burden of proof for the other side is going to be lower than if you hadn’t had a criminal conviction.
Where a criminal trial must be decided “beyond a reasonable doubt,” in a civil case it must only be proven there is a “balance of probability” that the defendant is liable.
Contact Minhas Lawyers today!
If you have been charged with a criminal offense or are involved in a civil litigation trial, it is of the utmost importance that you have an experienced lawyer on your side. Contact Minhas Lawyers today to arrange for a consultation to further discuss options in your case!
Minhas Lawyers LLP is a multi-practice law firm based in Mississauga. We advise and represent clients across various segments and practice areas.
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