Introduction to the U.S. Legal System
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed January 28, 2013
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What is the difference between a civil and criminal case? What kinds of cases are heard in federal court and state court? If you're in a lawsuit, what should you expect? Get answers to these questions and more in this overview of the U.S. legal system. Choose a link to get started.
- Legal System Basics - The role of courts; includes a helpful glossary.
- The State Court Systems - An in-depth look at state courts: structure, power, and proceedings.
- The Federal Court System - The federal court system up-close, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Civil Court Cases - Stages of a civil case, courtroom players, and more.
- Lawsuits: A Practical Guide - What to expect if you are involved in a lawsuit.
- Criminal Court Cases - The basics of criminal law, stages of a criminal case, sentencing options, and more.
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