If someone settles a civil suit regarding battery, how can that affect any criminal charges?

When someone brings charges of battery against you and initiates a civil lawsuit before the criminal one, if he agrees to settle this civil lawsuit, does he automatically renounce to his right to pursue you criminally for the same facts?

Asked on November 29, 2011 under Criminal Law, Utah


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A criminal and civil matter arising out of the same set of facts and the same incident are two different proceedings involving two different burdens of proof for a result in favor of the prosecution (beyond a reasonable doubt) and plaintiff (preponderance of evidence).

If the civil action is resolved before the criminal matter, the prosecution has the discretion to continue the criminal matter even though the victim in the criminal matter and former plaintiff in the civil action may not want to pursue the criminal matter further. The plaintiff/victim does not renounce his right to continue with the criminal matter if the civil matter is settled. 

The prosecution has the duty to prosecute all crimes in the county of its jurisdiction for the people of its state and has the discretion to dismiss or pursue a specific action.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.