Criminal vs. Civil

Victor Rotolo, Steven Karch and the attorneys at Rotolo Karch Law handle both civil matters and criminal matters. While we deal with these different types of cases on a daily basis, we realize that quite often our clients may not understand the differences between a civil matter versus a criminal matter. Below we provide a brief explanation of some of the key differences between a civil and criminal matter which may be useful. If, after reading the information you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact our law office to speak with one of our attorneys.

Super Lawyers Badge

Victor A. Rotolo has been included on the List of New Jersey Super Lawyers in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, marking his twelfth year of inclusion on this list. The list of New Jersey Super Lawyers is generated by the Thomson Reuters organization which employs the following methodology and set of standards to compile the list each year. Super Lawyers Selection Methodology [No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court.]

Certified Civil Trial Attorney Badge

Victor A. Rotolo is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney.

"A certified attorney is more than just an attorney who specializes in a particular area of law. A New Jersey attorney who is certified by the Supreme Court as a civil trial attorney must have:

  • been a member in good standing of the New Jersey bar for over 5 years
  • demonstrated a substantial level of experience in civil trial law
  • been favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with his or her work
  • taken and passed a written examination in civil trial law."

Source: Supreme Court of New Jersey, Board on Attorney Certification, Brochure on Certified Civil Trial Attorney. See Rule 1:39: Specialty Certification of Attorneys.

Civil versus Criminal – Understanding the Differences

A harmful act committed against our society is referred to as a crime and falls under the jurisdiction of the Criminal Justice System.  Criminal offenses are accusations of a crime against our society in general and as a whole. In contrast, civil cases mainly involve disputes between people or entities (i.e., a corporation).

There are other key differences between a criminal and civil case. Some key differences noted are as follows:

CivilCriminal
Commencement:  A civil case begins with a claim by a plaintiff (a person or entity such as a corporation or the government) against a defendant (the person failing to carry out a legal duty owed to the plaintiff).Commencement:  A criminal case begins when the harmful act is committed. A victim of a criminal act is not responsible for initiating a case against the accused. The government, either federal or state, will prosecute an accused criminal.
Parties: There is a plaintiff(s) and defendant(s) which are also referred to as ‘parties’ or ‘litigants.’Parties: The government prosecutes the case through the United States Attorney's Office (federal crimes)  or the New Jersey’s attorney's office (state crimes).
Outcome: Courts order the defendant to fulfill a duty or to make compensation for harm done or possibly both.Outcome: A person that is found guilty of committing a crime receives a sentence, and the sentence may be in the form of
  1. a monetary fine or restitution to the victim ordered by the courts, and/or
  2. loss of liberty or supervision.
Purpose:  The purpose of civilian law is to make sure that rights under the Constitution or under Federal or State Law are protected.Purpose:  The purposes of criminal law are to protect and to serve.
  • to express public morality (when the public decides the law by what is right or wrong depending on the community)
  • to teach sociable boundaries (when the criminal is punished to be taught a lesson)
Attorneys Fees:  Each party pays directly for his/her attorney fees although sometimes the payment of legal fees is included in the Court’s rulingAttorneys Fees:  Our Federal and State taxes pay for the prosecuting attorney’s salary (and the entire office); most times the accused pays for his/her legal fees, however, a court-appointed attorney is used when the accused cannot pay legal fees
Examples: contract disputes between parties, sexual harassment suits, accidents.Examples: murder, assault, rape, sexual abuse, theft, robbery, burglary, fraud.


If you or a loved one is accused of committing a crime, call the experienced attorneys at Rotolo Karch Law.

Call Rotolo Karch Law today - 908.534.7900

Contact Us for a Free Consultation
Call Us 908-534-7900
Captcha Image
Client Reviews
★★★★★

The absolute BEST!!! I have a family of attorneys but needed someone local. Victor was recommended to me and words cannot describe how pleased I was with his firm. The outstanding service and attention each member of his staff gave to me surpassed any and all expectations. Victor surrounds himself with a hardworking team that he leads. I felt it was money spent wisely. I will continue to recommend Victor and his associates.

★★★★★

Mr. Rotolo has helped me numerous times in legal matters and has continued to support and help me through countless hardships. He is dedicated to providing the best service and is a true professional. I will continue to consult with him regarding any legal issues in the future. He is a respectable, hardworking, kind hearted man and I would recommend his legal services to anyone.

- Matthew
★★★★★

I am an attorney and have practiced law for 26 years. I hired Vic to handle a very difficult family matter because I do not handle family law. Vic was extremely competent and obtained a result far beyond my expectations. Without his counsel my son's and family's life would have been changed forever. Thank you Vic for your good lawyering. I very much appreciate the personal attention and time dedicated to this matter. I highly recommend Vic.

- Anthony
★★★★★

We recently had a situation where we needed to hire an attorney. We selected Rotolo Law Firm and I can honestly say that we were above and beyond satisfied with Vic and his team. We would absolutely recommend this firm to anyone should the need arise. We blindly picked the firm out of the phone book because I liked his ad. Now I believe that God was pointing us in the right direction. Thank you Vic and the Rotolo Law Firm for being there for us in our time of need.

- Kim
★★★★★

Victor's expertise, due diligence, and empathy for his client made my first experience with the law (and last) a non-stressful one. Before the case, I did my research and looked over about 20 lawyers before choosing Victor. All my sources pointed to him as the best and they weren't off even a bit. Victor treated my case like it was his own and kept me up to date with all my appointments, breakthroughs in the case, and guided me step through step in a process that I never thought that I had to come to endure. If Victor's not available Susy will go out of her way to take care you. The productivity and efficiency in that office is second to none. Thank you Victor!

- Michael