Criminal law involves prosecution by the federal government of an individual for an act that is classified as a crime. Civil cases, however, involve individuals and organizations wanting to resolve legal disputes. In a criminal case, Hawaii, by way of a prosecutor, initiates the suit, during a civil case the victim brings the suit. Persons convicted of a crime could be incarcerated, fined, or both. However, persons found liable in a civil case may simply quit property or pay money, but aren't incarcerated.
A "crime" is any act or omission (of an act) in violation of a public law forbidding or commanding it. Though there are several common law crimes, most crimes in the USA are established by local, state, and federal governments. Criminal laws vary significantly from state to convey. There's, however, a Model Penal Code which serves as an excellent starting place to get a knowledge of the essential structure of criminal liability.
Crimes include both felonies (much more serious offenses -- like murder or rape) and misdemeanors (less serious offenses - like petty theft or jaywalking). Felonies are often crimes punishable by imprisonment of per year or even more, while misdemeanors are crimes punishable by significantly less than per year. However, no act is really a crime if it is not previously established therefore either by statute or common law. Recently, the set of Federal crimes coping with activities extending beyond state boundaries or having special effect on federal operations, is continuing to grow.
All statutes describing criminal behaviour could be broken down to their various elements. Most crimes (apart from strict-liability crimes) contain two elements: an act, or actus reus, and a state of mind, or mens rea. Prosecutors need to prove every single part of the crime to yield a conviction. Furthermore, the prosecutor must persuade the jury or judge beyond an acceptable doubt of each fact essential to constitute the crime charged. In civil cases, the plaintiff must show a defendant is likely only by way of a preponderance of the data, or even more than 50%.