We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Criminal Litigation?

By Christy Bieber
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
MyLawQuestions is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At MyLawQuestions, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Criminal litigation refers to a trial in criminal court. Criminal litigation is distinct from civil litigation in most countries. Civil litigation is a private lawsuit between two parties, while criminal litigation is litigation brought by the state against an individual.

Under the due process clause of the United States Constitution, individuals cannot be deprived of life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness without due process of the law. A fair and just trial with a jury of peers is part of due process, and is also guaranteed in the Sixth Amendment. Under these rules, a person cannot be subject to punishment without criminal litigation first taking place.

Only an authorized government official — a prosecutor — is permitted to institute a criminal trial. This makes a criminal trial distinct from a civil lawsuit, in which one party can sue another party for violating a legal duty. While some actions and behaviors can give rise to both criminal and civil litigation, the criminal trial must always be kept separate from the civil trial.

A prosecutor may bring criminal charges only after going through proper legal channels to ensure the charges are appropriate. The process varies depending on the jurisdiction. In the United States, a prosecutor must show probable cause to bring criminal charges against an individual and then must get an indictment, proving he has sufficient evidence that the accused violated a legal duty, to bring the person to trial.

After an indictment and arrest, a criminal trial normally takes place. During the trial, the prosecutor has the burden of proving the defendant violated a law. Criminal trials require the highest standard of proof, which means the prosecutor must prove all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

The defendant has a number of potential defenses available to him in a criminal trial. He can attempt to introduce reasonable doubt about one or more elements of the crime, such as proving that he didn't have the required intent or that he didn't commit the illegal actions. He can also introduce affirmative defenses, such as self defense.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Markerrag — On Feb 04, 2014

People love to gripe about that "reasonable doubt" standard because it is a valid defense strategy to throw as much doubt as they can at a jury in hopes of getting an acquittal. Frankly, I'm glad that standard exists. It is far better to let a couple of guilty folks walk free than to jail someone who is genuinely innocent, isn't it?

MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.