Civil Defense VS Criminal Defense 

Civil Defense VS Criminal Defense in 2023

The majority of criminal cases that are truly malicious in nature are actually quite small. Certainly, there will always be what the Judicial System calls “bad actors.” The majority, however, are simply crimes of passion, oversight, or bad judgment. 

The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data, as of 2023, tracks up-to-the-minute data on all crimes that result in injury and death and is current and searchable. While fluctuations do occur, the statistics show that intentional crime is rarer than the type of crime due to neglect or other outstanding circumstances. 

Civil Defense/Criminal Defense Coincides 

If injured by a third party criminally, or if an individual is charged with a criminal crime, there can be a cross-over into the civil defense realm. While awaiting either acquittal on criminal charges or awaiting compensation for injuries sustained due to a criminal charge, both perpetrators and victims have the option of seeking concurrent relief. 

This simply means a negligence claim and a criminal proceeding can be ongoing. Criminal cases can take years as any charges must be proven beyond a “Reasonable Doubt.” Civil cases do not hold the same standard, and the process only entails what can be a “Preponderance of the Evidence” to succeed. 

Prosecutors must prove a case thoroughly in a criminal hearing, while civil hearings are judged most simply by rational methods of thought and the progression of circumstances. 

Dismissal of Criminal Charges

This is the number one reason someone who is a victim may proceed with a civil case. But, unfortunately, pain and suffering might still endure even when a defendant is found not guilty. 

On the other hand, a non-guilty party also has the right to sue for damages to their reputations and their pain and suffering if they are found not guilty in a criminal case. 

Many instances of these types of cases occur per year nationwide and even in PA. Harm can be caused on both sides of the spectrum, from the injured to the one accused of an injury or malicious behavior. 

Prosecutors are very reluctant to bring criminal charges because of the high rate that these will be dismissed or overturned in appeal. This leads both those that are victims and perpetrators to seek out civil relief.

Civil and Criminal Proceedings Exceptions

As with everything legal, there are exceptions to any criminal or civil proceedings. Some of these include

  • Juvenile justice adjudications

Special circumstances can surround any involvement either as a perpetrator or a victim in juvenile justice cases. It does vary from state to state many times, and the age of the victim or perpetrator.  

  • Concurrent commission

Those that have overlapping traits that, in essence, would make the prosecution of many infractions a waste of time and money. This is also called “cumulative evidence.”  

  • Mental illness

While an extremely hard defense, it can be used successfully if proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. 

  • Aggravating circumstances

This is common actually and simply means that a victim might have provoked an attack or been involved in some way in starting a chain of events that led to a crime. An example of this is a scuffle that turns physical during an altercation or, in some cases, road rage by both parties.

  • Self-defense

This mitigating circumstance means a person feels threatened and is trying to defend themselves from a perceived threat. However, the amount of force used must be equal to the perceived threat and not above the threshold necessary to avoid injury. 

  • Reasonable force in the line of duty

Some reasonable force employed by police officers or others in the public service can render them harmless from criminal charges and even civil negligence lawsuits if the evidence shows that the acts were done according to necessity and proper procedures. 

Conclusion on Criminal VS Civil Defense

It is never wise for defendants or victims to represent themselves in civil or criminal negligence lawsuits. Too much is at stake. Moreover, the laws change frequently, and there are many aspects to each type. 

Cornell Law and other government and legal entities provide up-to-date information to all attorneys. The only recourse, whether a victim, a person charged with a crime, or someone facing even the threat of prosecution or having been harmed, should seek out an attorney such as Christian J. Hoey, ESQ, of Paoli, PA.

Attorney Hoey has an entire team of experts on criminal and civil justice law as well as negligence. With decades of experience in both Federal and State laws that deal with the intricacies of both “sides of the coin” of this type of law, there is a free consultation, and the sooner a phone call to Attorney Hoey occurs, the more a client’s right is protected to the utmost. 

For more information on all our law services, visit us at or call us at (610) 647-5151.

Distracted Driving

Pennsylvania defines distracted driving as “an activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” Drivers have to focus on driving, so they can react to the information on the road, such as road conditions, hazards and other drivers. Distracted drivers do not react appropriately and thus put others at risk for severe injury or death. Examples of distractions, besides using cell phones and texting, include drinking, eating, adjusting the radio, adjusting climate controls, adjusting seats, combing hair, putting on make-up, daydreaming, reaching for dropped items, engaging in heavy conversations, and focusing on events outside of the car.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence typically refers to alcohol use, but drug use can also impair drivers and cause severe car accidents.  In either situation, enjoying cocktails at happy hour, celebrating with drugs or alcohol, drinking too much wine for dinner and unwinding after a long week at work results in too many motorists driving under the influence.  Controlled substances impact each person differently, making it common for someone to misjudge his or her level of impairment.  These poor judgments can lead to severe and sometimes fatal car accidents.

Driver Fatigue

Driving without enough sleep is commonplace for many in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and across the nation. Truck drivers, shift workers, and those with sleep disorders are most vulnerable to causing an accident because they are drowsy or fatigued. Not having enough rest slows down reaction time and impairs the senses. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) claims that eighteen (18) hours without sleep impairs a driver to the same extent as someone who has a 0.08 blood or breath alcohol concentration after consuming alcohol.


The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that one-third of all car accidents involve speeding. Drivers who rush, run late, or simply lack patience may choose to speed when they get behind the wheel. Speeding makes it more likely that a driver will lose control of his or her vehicle and makes it more difficult to react to road hazards and other vehicles. Speeding also increases the impact of a car accident and makes it far less likely that a negligent driver may maintain control of his vehicle sufficient to prevent a collision. High speed car accidents make it far more likely that those involved will suffer severe injuries or death.


At HoeyLegal, we know from our litigation experience that tractor-trailer drivers often operate at least one cellular phone which is in use at, during, or immediately prior to a tractor-trailer accident. Additionally, most tractor-trailers are equipped with data recorders which capture, in real-time, important vehicle operation events including speed, hard braking and other evasive maneuvers taken by the operator and the tractor-trailer.  It is imperative that this evidence be obtained before it is destroyed.  At HoeyLegal, our trial attorneys will obtain any necessary court order to preserve this evidence for trial.


Oftentimes, there are several defendants responsible for the tractor-trailer accident. In most cases, at least two defendants are responsible for the ownership and operation of the tractor-trailer.  There may be additional defendants responsible for the hiring and retention of the tractor-trailer driver.  At HoeyLegal, our investigators will promptly identify the responsible defendants and immediately request the preservation of all evidence related to the hiring and retention of the driver, inspection of the vehicles and the supervision and drug/alcohol testing of the vehicle operator.


Our accident investigators include mechanics who will immediately respond to the accident site and the location where the truck has been impounded in order to photograph the truck and conduct necessary mechanical inspections of the vehicle. In the event that a court order is necessary to examine and inspect the trucks, HoeyLegal Attorneys will promptly file the necessary motions to enable the HoeyLegal mechanics and inspectors to conduct a prompt evaluation of the mechanical function of the at-fault tractor-trailer


Our expert accident investigators include former Pennsylvania State Police accident investigators and nationally recognized engineers who will carefully photograph the accident scene and conduct all necessary measurements of skid marks, yaw marks, displacement of debris and thoroughly examine the accident site to preserve all evidence for the time of trial.


Our investigators will promptly interview and record all witnesses that observed the accident and collect all biographical information from the witnesses so they will available to testify on your behalf at trial.

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