The Difference Between Attorneys: Criminal, Civil, and Family

The difference between criminal, civil, and family law attorneys.

The Difference Between Attorneys: Criminal, Civil, and Family

State and federal laws can often overlap. Some court cases may even involve more than one type of law. Trying to determine which type of attorney you need for your own court case can sometimes, therefore, be confusing.

Attorneys in Arizona must pass the bar exam following their graduation from law school before they may lawfully practice law within the state. The bar exam assesses future attorneys on all areas of law, including civil, constitutional, contract, criminal, real property, torts, business, family law, trusts, and estates.

However, attorneys are free to choose a specific area of law to practice in once they have passed the bar. This allows attorneys to become truly focused and skilled in one or two areas despite all attorneys having quite similar educations. Of these, the most prevalent are criminal, civil, and family.

Criminal Attorneys

If you have been charged with a crime of federal, state, or city law, you will need to hire a criminal law attorney. These criminal charges put a defendant at risk of incarnation and/or other penalties as a result of felony, misdemeanor, or petty offense convictions. This includes matters such as:

Criminal law attorneys, also known as criminal defense attorneys, defend defendants in criminal cases. In some cases, this may mean taking a criminal case all the way to a jury trial. They work to do any of the following:

  • Prove to a judge or jury that the defendant is not guilty of the crime with which they were charged.
  • Protect the rights of the defendant and ensure the prosecution and law enforcement agencies involved remain above-board and do not inhibit justice.
  • Negotiate a plea bargain for the defendant to allow them the most favorable sentence terms.

Civil Attorneys

Civil law attorneys represent court cases that may also go to trial, however they do not deal with criminal matters. Civil law attorneys handle cases that involve:

  • Disputes between individuals.
  • Landlord/tenant issues.
  • Employment.
  • Small claims.
  • Changes of name.
  • Debt collection.
  • Disputes between businesses, corporations, partnerships, or similar.
  • Disputes between government entities.
  • Personal injury.
  • Property damage.
  • Contract disputes.
  • Medical malpractice.

Many types of civil law involve lawsuits, where one party files a complaint against the other for wrongdoing. As such, civil attorneys are typically well-versed in litigation, the process of resolving disputes through the court. Civil law attorneys are tasked with proving that their client has been wronged by the other party and should be justly recompensed.

Family Law Attorneys

Family law attorneys work in cases that involve:

Family law attorneys in Arizona are not responsible for finding fault in one party of another. Instead, their aim is to be fair to the parties involved and act in the best interest of any children involved.

How Rideout Law Group Combines Law in Order to Conquer

Rideout Law Group’s attorneys focus on both criminal and family law, allowing them to have a greater breadth of knowledge and experience in cases in which family law and criminal law overlap. In some cases, criminal charges or convictions can affect a pending family law case and vice versa. This includes the following situations:

  • A parent in a pending family law case with domestic violence charges.
  • A parent in a pending family law case with child abuse charges.
  • A parent in a pending family law case with sexual offense charges.
  • A party in a family law case with an active protective order against them filed by the opposing party.
  • A party in a family law case breaking laws in order to gain information (evidence tampering, wiretapping, etc).
  • A parent in a family law case being sentenced to imprisonment.



With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.

Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:

  • charges that are reduced or dropped.
  • top experts reviewing your case.
  • aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
  • fines or probation in lieu of jail time.

At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.

Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.

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