Do I need a criminal or civil case to get my money back?
According to the Constitution, in Mexico no one can be imprisoned for debts of a purely civil nature.
This means that an individual can only be imprisoned if he commits a crime established in the criminal laws, but not in case of non-compliance of civil debts such as credit card debts or condominium fees or the income from a property, for example.
It is important to consider that crimes are regulated in criminal laws, and civil matters are regulated in civil codification.
So, it is convenient for you to know the basic differences between a civil lawsuit and a criminal complaint. Let’s see.
- A civil lawsuit is used for civil matters such as the collection of a debt from a creditor; while a criminal complaint is used in case of crimes.
- The lawsuit is filed before a judge; the complaint is generally filed before a public prosecutor known in Mexico as “Ministerio Público”.
- By means of a civil lawsuit, for example, you can get back the money that a creditor owes you. While by means of a criminal complaint, and following due process, a person who has committed a crime could be imprisoned, provided that his guilt has been proven with reliable evidence.
Generally, a lawsuit starts with the request / claim, which a person makes to require another to fulfill some unfulfilled obligation. This type of lawsuit is presented before the Civil, Commercial or Family Courts. In the event that you wish to collect a debt or enforce a contract, you may file a lawsuit before a Civil or Commercial Court, depending on the type of matter in question.
On the other hand, a criminal complaint is initiated before the “Ministerio Público”, which is the authority that is responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes. The individual affected by a crime such as fraud, for example, can file his complaint before the aforementioned authority.
We recommend that you consider that to claim the fulfillment of a civil obligation such as a payment or the fulfillment of a contract, the intervention of the “Ministerio Público” is not necessary unless there is a fraud such as the sale of a single property to two different people (double sale) or the issuance of a false check to cover a payment for example. The Civil and Commercial Judges have the power to execute forced measures such as the seizure and auction of assets so that you can recover what is owed to you.
In case you want to claim a debt or the fulfillment of a contractual obligation, or if you have been the victim of a crime, we recommend that you immediately contact an honest lawyer who can advise you and determine what type of actions (civil and/or criminal) must be carried out to solve your legal problem.
It is important for the lawyer to study and determine exactly what type of trial is best for you, because from the specialized study carried out by a lawyer, it can determined the trial that suits you best, whether civil or criminal; or in some cases, take both ways; what does it depend on? of the specialized study that is made of your particular problem and of the evidence that you have.
Our law firm has specialists who can carry out the study of your particular case, which will make possible to determine whether to go to a public prosecutor, requesting the investigation of a crime; and / or, go before a Civil Court to file a lawsuit in order to ensure that the defendant complies with what he was binded to give or do.
Which trial is more efficient, the civil trial or the criminal trial?
The effectiveness of each trial depends entirely on the result that can be obtained from it. That is, in civil proceedings it is regularly possible to recover what is due or to recover an asset or a real estate. While in criminal trials, it is often not possible to recover financially the affectation caused by the crime; however, a criminal may be placed in prison, provided there is sufficient evidence to prove his guilt.
In addition, it is important to consider that criminal trials generally take a long time to be solved, since it is common that public prosecutors and criminal judges to have a high workload and such prevents them from attending proceedings promptly, thus causing victims of a crime do not get justice quickly.
In conclusion, we consider that generally a civil trial is more efficient and quicker to recover your money or the cost or damage to your assets.
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