Morgantown, WV asked in Personal Injury and Criminal Law for West Virginia

Q: What makes something an intentional tort instead of a criminal act? Who decides what claims to go civil versus criminal

court?

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2 Lawyer Answers
D. Michael Burke Esq
D. Michael Burke Esq
Answered

A: Most--if not all--intentional torts ARE criminal acts. Assaults, intentionally running a vehicle into another vehicle, stealing, fraud, and other intentional, wrongful acts are both crimes and torts. I am hard-pressed to think of an intentional tort that is not a crime, but whether the criminal authorities wish to prosecute an intentional, wrongful act as a crime may depend on many factors, such as the evidence and proof of the crime. And don't forget the burden of proof: beyond a reasonable doubt for a crime, and by a preponderance of the evidence for a tort, intentional or not. Remember O.J. Simpson, acquitted of the crime, but the big loser of a civil trial based on the same acts.

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing
Answered

A: Only the DA will file a criminal case. The attorney general can file a civil case but only in certain types of cases. If you think you have a claim, contact a member of CAOC--they give free consultations.

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