Dual Consequences of Criminal Charges

When facing serious criminal charges like sexual assault, aggravated assault, or other offences, individuals may not be fully aware of the potential dual consequences – not only in criminal court but also in civil proceedings. This discussion explores the impact of a guilty plea in a criminal case on potential civil lawsuits.

Civil Lawsuit for Damages: The Possibility

In cases involving serious crimes, the complainant (victim) has the right to pursue a civil lawsuit for damages. This is particularly significant in instances like sexual assault, where the repercussions on the victim can be severe and multifaceted. Damages sought in civil court can be substantial, reflecting the harm suffered.

The Crucial Question: Guilty Plea Admission

The crucial question arises when an accused decides to plead guilty to a criminal charge. Does this admission of guilt have implications for a parallel civil lawsuit? The answer is yes. A guilty plea in criminal court serves as an admission of the facts, and the complainant can use this admission to establish liability in the civil lawsuit.

Establishing Liability: The Impact of a Guilty Plea

By pleading guilty, you acknowledge your commission of the offence, making it very easy  for the complainant to prove liability in the civil proceedings. While there are exceptions and extenuating circumstances that might limit the use of a guilty plea in civil court, these are narrow and complex.

Outcome: Quantum of Damages

In the aftermath of a guilty plea, the focus in the civil lawsuit shifts from liability to the quantum of damages. The court now considers the extent of compensation to be awarded to the victim based on the harm suffered. The guilty plea has already established liability, leaving the assessment of damages as the primary consideration.

Considerations Before a Guilty Plea: Facing the Consequences

Before deciding to enter a guilty plea, individuals must be aware of the potential ramifications in both criminal and civil proceedings. The likelihood of facing a substantial civil lawsuit, with the admission of liability through a guilty plea, is a crucial factor to consider. Understanding the comprehensive impact of a plea is essential for informed decision-making.

A Comprehensive Perspective

In conclusion, the effect of a guilty plea on a civil lawsuit is significant, with the admission of guilt serving as a powerful element in establishing liability. Individuals facing serious criminal charges should carefully weigh the potential consequences in both criminal and civil contexts, seeking legal counsel to navigate these complex considerations.

Legal Guidance: Exploring Your Options

If you are grappling with criminal charges and the potential impact on civil proceedings, seeking legal guidance is crucial. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Contact us here to ensure you have the necessary support and information to make informed decisions about your legal journey.

Video Transcription:

If you have been charged with a serious crime such as a sexual assault, aggravated assault or assault causing bodily harm, or even a minor assault, the complainant (i.e. victim) can also sue you in civil court for damages. Damages can be very substantial in big cases such as sexual assault, for good reason. There are serious and negative repercussions for victims of sexual assault, psychologically, emotionally, physically and even more so for children. What is the affect if the accused decides to plead guilty to these crimes? Can your admission that you committed the crime on a criminal guilty plea be used against you in q civil proceedings? The short answer, is yes. If you, for example, have been convicted of a sexual assault and plead guilty to it, you have admitted to those facts in the criminal court. The complainant now can easily sue you and use that admission as proving liability that you “did it.”   In other words, you have already admitted you committed the offence and they are going to be able to prove liability in the civil lawsuit very easily.  There are exceptions to every rule and this one as well has narrow and extenuating circumstances where the victim may not be able to use your criminal guilty plea as an admission to prove liability in the law suit, but I won’t get into them as it is complicated.  However, in 99% of cases where you have already plead guilty to a sexual assault, liability is going to be admitted and proven and the only question remaining is the amount of damages to be awarded. So, now the only thing the judge has to decide is the quantum of damages law suit.    This   is just one of many factors for you to consider before you entering into a guilty plea in a criminal matter involving a complainant. It is one factor you should consider that you can be facing a substantial law suit for a high damages amount and your criminal guilty plea has in most cases already established liability for the lawsuit.  Therefore, the only question remaining in the sexual assault law suit would involve how much money you will have to pay the victim.   That is the short answer to this question. It is a very common question that clients ask me and even if they do not ask me, I always review this issue with them before they make a decision to plead guilty to a serious crime.

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