The American justice system is unique in the world, as the 5th amendment clearly states that no person shall be prosecuted twice for the same crime. This is important, as it prevents the government from punishing someone found not guilty of a crime by continually trying them in order to get the results it desires.
Most people then think that if someone is acquitted in a criminal case, that is the end of the story and justice has been served. This is true in the strictest sense of the law, as the 5th amendment prevents the government from trying someone again in a criminal setting for criminal punishment.
What that doesn’t mean is that you can’t sue someone that killed someone you love in a drunk driving accident in a civil court. Civil courts cover the realm of law that deals with interactions between people, and if someone you love was killed in a DUI accident you can often sue the person responsible for wrongful death or other associated claims.
There have been many famous cases where this aspect of the law has been applied, and not just in DUI accident situations. Perhaps the most famous one is the O.J. Simpson trial. While the criminal courts found him not guilty of the murder of his two victims, a civil court found him responsible for their wrongful deaths, and awarded their families a significant financial settlement to compensate them for their loss and pain and suffering.
If this seems like a contradiction, it’s not. The law looks at it as if the criminal aspect and the personal aspect of a certain act as two separate parts of one whole. The criminal courts did not prove that the person in question acted criminally, and thus they have no legal ability to punish …Read more