Can a civil case result in a criminal charge?

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Can a civil case result in a criminal charge?

I went to pick up a friend at a party and when I tried to leave I was shoved by the plaintiff. I hit him back in self defense and a fight ensued. I left and apparently after he called police, they filed a report (then he had a hospital report, pictures of injuries etc; I got all that when he sent me the exhibits) but no one ever contacted me until a month later when I got a summons for $2500 (medical bills, pain and suffering, etc). Can I be charged criminally even though the police never contacted me for my statement? Can the court decide to award more than the $2500?

Asked on June 28, 2011 under Criminal Law, New Mexico

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Assault and battery are both criminal and civil.  Assault is intentionally placing one in reasonable apprehension of an immediate battery without consent or legal privilege.  Battery is the intentional harmful or offensive touching of another without consent or legal privilege.

Unless criminal charges are filed against you, at this point there is only a civil case (lawsuit).

As to whether or not the court can award additional damages, the present amount that is being requested is compensatory damages (compensation for the injuries).  If the lawsuit asks for punitive damages, additional damages could be awarded.  Punitive damages are a substantial amount to punish malicious and intentional acts. 

If punitive damages were not requested in the lawsuit, then the $2500 plus court costs such as the court filing fee, process server fee, etc. would be the extent of damages requested and recoverable by the plaintiff.


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