The Courts

There are two types of law - civil and criminal

Criminal - state or federal prosecutors bring a case against a person charged with a major crime, called a felony.

Civil - deals with lawsuits brought by individuals or the government against other individuals, organizations or companies.

The court system has two branches - state and federal. These branches operate separately and are independent of other branches of the government.


Understand why plea bargaining is such an important part of the court system, especially in an era when the U.S. has record rates of incarceration. Read why plea bargains are made.


Glossary of terms heard in court

Terms you need to know