When involved in any litigation, the first and most important step is to look for a good lawyer.

However, in many situations, it can be confusing to know which type of lawyer to hire – one who deals with criminal cases or one specializing in civil ones. This brief guide aims to help you learn about the differences between the two, so you can select the most appropriate option. 

So, make sure to read until the end!

Criminal Lawyer

Differences Between A Criminal And A Civil Lawyer

1. Types Of Cases

The first difference between criminal and civil lawyers is that they deal with different types of cases. A criminal lawyer deals with cases that involve crime and can result in legal punishments, and finding a criminal lawyer in Brampton or other areas often requires more research. 

On the other hand, civil lawyers deal with disputes between various parties, which may result in monetary compensation being awarded to the victim. 

2. Functioning

Civil lawyers are generally hired by the aggrieved party to plead their case, whereas criminal lawyers work within the criminal justice system. This means the system can assign a criminal lawyer for defendants who cannot hire one themselves, but this provision is not available for civil cases.

3. Earnings

Both civil and criminal lawyers can earn well, and these earnings only increase with time and experience. But civil lawyers can charge a contingency fee, while criminal lawyers cannot. Despite that, criminal lawyers tend to earn a bit more than civil lawyers, especially if they have a strong record of winning cases.

4. Representation

While civil lawyers can represent both plaintiffs and defendants, criminal lawyers only represent defendants. The plaintiff is the party who sues another person in a court of law, while the defendant is a party who is sued by another. 

5. Resolution

Civil lawyers are usually hired when the victim has suffered a monetary loss, and the only remedy is monetary compensation. They need to prove that the negligence of the other party resulted in damages suffered by their client. If a civil lawyer loses a case, it won’t result in imprisonment or other forms of punishment. 

On the other hand, criminal lawyers need to prove their client’s innocence to win the case. It is the job of the prosecutor to prove that the defendant is guilty. In case a criminal lawyer fails, it can result in serious punishments for the defendant that go beyond monetary compensation.

6. Process

As far as civil cases are concerned, both parties need to provide information regarding the case. But this is not the case in criminal proceedings. A criminal lawyer cannot be forced to share information about his client with the prosecution. 


These were the fundamental differences between a civil and a criminal lawyer, and hopefully, now you know which one to select. Keep in mind that lawyers do not usually practice both criminal and civil law.