The aftermath of a self-defense incident can be extremely complicated — even in the clearest of cases. In this week’s “Ask a Defense Attorney” video, Attorney Tom Grieve discusses if you can be sued in civil court (even if you were cleared criminally for your use of a firearm in self-defense). His answer might surprise you.
Can I Be Sued Civilly After a Self-Defense Incident?
In short, yes. You can be sued civilly, even if you were found innocent in criminal court for justified use of force in a self-defense incident. So if the criminal justice system finds you “not guilty,” you may still face the possibility of losing your home, your car and your life savings due to a civil case against you.
How Is This Possible?
Well, in criminal court, your case is only being examined against the laws. This impacts the evidence that can be introduced for your self-defense case as well as how the judge or jury can analyze that evidence.
When it comes to a criminal case, in order for a “guilty” verdict to be decided upon, you must be found “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the highest legal burden in the justice system.
When it comes to civil court though, the rules are different. There is typically a much lower burden of proof for your civil liability. It boils down to the criminal prosecutor needing to find you “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” whereas a civil plaintiffs attorney does not face such a high legal burden.
About Tom Grieve, Grieve Law
Tom Grieve is one of the most respected criminal defense lawyers in Wisconsin. A highly awarded former prosecutor, he started Grieve Law, LLC, which is one of the top criminal defense firms in the state. He developed a nuanced knowledge of Wisconsin firearms law. Tom has also received his certification as a firearms instructor and participates as a speaker and panelist with the USCCA for live broadcasts, national expos and training videos. He is even serving as a speaker and analyst on numerous TV and radio stations as well as on college and law school campuses.
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