As a case enters the court system, it is routed to specific courts based on factors such as whether the case is civil or criminal, how much money or what kind of crime is involved, and whether the proceeding is a trial or an appeal from another court’s judgment.
A case is considered criminal when a person has been charged by the government with violating a law. Criminal cases can range from minor infractions which may result in the person paying a monetary fine, to felonies which may result in a person serving a prison sentence of one year or more.
A case is considered a civil action when a person petitions the court to protect a private, civil right or to obtain a civil remedy. In civil cases, one party files a lawsuit against another, asking for money or for a court order against the other party. Common civil cases include family issues, contract disputes, and personal injury claims.