State or federal government bring criminal actions against parties that are accused of violating the law and civil actions are non-criminal acts brought against those accused of violating private rights. Examples of criminal law include murder, kidnapping, embezzlement or theft. Civil law examples include breach of contract, compensation-related cases and fraud.
In criminal law, it is not the victim's responsibility to bring a case and is punished by the police or state. Civil law is where the victim of a crime can ask for restitution and fines when the defendant has not carried out a legal duty. The easiest way to differentiate the two types of law is by looking at the party that is allowed to bring any proceedings against the other party. Only federal or state governments can bring criminal proceedings against a party and are doing so on behalf of the public.
The state or federal government, as well as companies or citizens can start civil proceedings. When the state or federal government do this, it is in order to benefit the citizens of the state or country and when a private party starts a civil case, it is doing so for its own benefits. The criminal law's aim is to prevent people from intentionally harming one another and to punish those guilty of violating the law. Civil law's aim is not to punish the defendant, but to compensate a wronged party. This can be by demanding that the defendant complete or cease a particular action, or by monetary compensation.