Difference Between Crime and Civil Wrong

Crime vs Civil Wrong
 

When it comes to the difference between crime and civil wrong, distinguishing a Civil Wrong from a Crime is a fairly simple exercise for many of us. For those of us who are not well acquainted with the precise definition of each term, identifying the difference can be somewhat complex. However, this is only temporary as the terms can be easily distinguished by simply understanding their meaning. In general, we understand a Crime to mean some act that is very serious and results in often dangerous consequences. On the other hand, we identify a Civil Wrong as an act that does not carry the same degree of seriousness and danger as that of a Crime.

What is a Civil Wrong?

A Civil Wrong is legally defined as a wrongdoing. The person affected by such wrongdoing files an action for damages or compensation against the person who committed the wrongdoing. Examples of Civil Wrongs include torts (wrongful acts committed against another person or property), breach of contract or breach of trust. Think of a Civil Wrong as an act that violates certain rights of an individual or party. Cases pertaining to a Civil Wrong are typically heard in a civil court. Thus, for example, a person may file an action against another seeking monetary relief for breach of a contract or the failure to perform a legal duty.

Difference Between Crime and Civil Wrong - What is Civil Wrong

Auto accidents is a civil wrong.

What is a Crime?

As mentioned above, a Crime denotes an act that has potentially dangerous consequences. Traditionally, a Crime is defined as a wrong arising from the violation of a public duty. Thus, a Crime typically constitutes a wrongful act that infringes the rights of society or the public. The serious nature associated with a Crime stems from the fact that these acts pose serious threats to the peace and order of society. From a legal perspective, a Crime refers to an act that violates the Criminal Law of a country. Murder, arson, rape, robbery, burglary, and drug-smuggling are some of the wrongful acts that fall within the definition of a Crime.

Difference Between Crime and Civil Wrong - What is Crime

Robbery is a crime.

A Crime is typically dealt with in a criminal proceeding. The ultimate objective of Criminal Law is to prevent the commission of Crimes and punish those who violate the Law. Thus, in contrast to a Civil Wrong, a person who commits a Crime will be punished by way of imprisonment, the death penalty, or payment of a fine. The question of paying compensation or providing monetary relief to the victim is, therefore,irrelevant in a case involving a Crime. Keep in mind however that some Crimes can also constitute Civil Wrongs. For example, the Crime of assault or battery will be categorized as a Civil Wrong if the victim seeks compensation for the injuries suffered.

What is the difference between Crime and Civil Wrong?

• A Civil Wrong refers to a wrongful act that infringes the private rights of an individual.

• A Crime, in contrast, is an act that violates the rights of society or the public as a whole. It is considered as an act that threatens or disrupts the peace and order of a society.

• A Civil Wrong typically constitutes non-criminal acts and includes torts, such as negligence, breach of contract or breach of trust.

• Murder, arson and robbery are examples of a Crime.

• If a party is convicted of committing a Civil Wrong, he/she will have to pay compensation by way of damages.

• In contrast, a person convicted of committing a Crime will be punished by way of imprisonment.

 

Images Courtesy: 

  1. Vehicle accident by Shuets Udono (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  2. Robbery by  BArchBot (CC BY-SA 3.0 de)