Courts basically come in 2 different types: civil and criminal. Civil court briefly means taking a person or company to court to win a monetary reward. The person or company has not committed a criminal act, but they have harmed you either financially or physically. Criminal court means the person broke the law and is usually punishable by jail time or probation. Only the state can take the person to court in a criminal action.
Courts resolve difficulties between people or determine if a person committed a criminal act. Federal courts exist to try cases involving the federal government, whereas the state courts try cases that break that state's law. If the state law is challenged, it may go to federal court or even to supreme courts. A Supreme Court ruling is final. Look for the following when determining which court has jurisdiction for your issue:
1. Use civil courts for any action that does not involve a crime.
2. Start a criminal court action by contacting the local authorities.
3. Understand when your case falls under federal court jurisdiction.
Select civil courts for lawsuitsWhen you dispute a purchase, slip and fall at a store or collide with another driver on the road, the action can wind up in the civil courts. You may choose small claims court, if the monetary amount is less than a certain amount. Any traffic violation that goes to court automatically goes to traffic court.
Choose criminal courts action when crime occursIf you are robbed or your house or business is vandalized, you need to call the police and make a police report about what happened. The police will then investigate, and ultimately, the state charges the person who harmed you for the crime committed.
Realize you can appeal to state or federal supreme courtsIf you do business in more than one state, then any issue would fall under the federal court system. Another issue heard in federal court is copyright and patent court issues.
PACER) allows you to access all records regarding any court case for a fee. This handy system allows the user to immediately access case records, dockets and names of plaintiffs and attorneys on record - any time, from any computer.
- If you become involved with any court action, make sure you seek advice from a qualified lawyer experienced in working with businesses.