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


Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers

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

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.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.