Criminal cases are brought by the government prosecutor against an individual or corporation for violating the law. The punishment in those cases is generally jail time or a monetary fine.
Civil cases are generally brought between two individuals or businesses against one another seeking money damages. Most common examples would be a case for breach of contract or personal injury.
The damages in a civil case are intended to compensate the plaintiff for the harm suffered and return them to the place they would be but for the action of the defendant.
Damages in a civil case differ from a fine in a criminal case in that while the goal of the damages in the civil case is to compensate for the loss a fine fine is designed to deter future wrongful conduct.
If you have additional questions regarding this issue please contact the attorneys at Mitchell Hoffman & Wolf