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Can a verdict or criminal evidence from a civil trial effect or be used as evidence in a criminal trial relating to that issue?

Laguna Beach, CA |

If a person wins in civil court, and it says that they "own" the business, can that evidence and the fact that they committed a crime by actually taking over the business illegally be used to prosecute that person for grand theft, fraud, tax evasion, and so on?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. The evidence can be used but not the verdict. Civil cases have a much different standard.


  2. Your question is difficult to answer. If one is the prevailing party in a civil matter for declaratory relief and the court finds that you, for example, are the rightful owner of a business, I'm not sure how that evidence could be used to prosecute another person for "taking over a business." I would need to know more facts as to how that other person committed theft of a business before answering any questions about whether such conduct is in fact criminal in character.


  3. The evidence of prior proceeding can be used. However, just wining the case in civil court does not mean that they would meet the standard used in a criminal proceeding. Note that civil and criminal court apply different standard of proof.


  4. Evidence, yes. Outcome, no.


  5. A conviction in criminal court can be used as presumptive evidence in a subsequent civil case, but not the other way round. However, depending on the facts, evidence from the civil case could be persuasive evidence in a subsequent criminal one.

    The response above is not intended as legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Legal questions can only be fully answered through consultation with an attorney to whom you give full and accurate details. Anything you post here is not confidential and is not protected by the attorney-client relationship. It is highly recommended that you seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting.

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