Distinction Between PUBLIC & PRIVATE Wrongs


A CRIME is a public wrong since it implies injury to the state; a TORT is a private wrong since it involves injury to an individual.  In the case of a crime, the state launches a criminal prosecution against the offender with a view toward punishing him; in the case of a tort, the injured individual brings a civil action against the wrongdoer to recover damages he or she received as a result of the injury.  If someone is found guilty in a criminal action, he or she may be imprisoned, forced to pay fines and penalties and/or face other consequences; while with civil actions, the losing party is usually ordered to pay the winning party money or something similar.  The purpose of criminal prosecutions ultimately is to prevent crime and protect society, while the purpose of civil actions is to compensate the injured individual by "making them whole."  In a criminal proceeding, the defendant’s guilt must be established beyond a reasonable doubt; in a civil action, the defendant’s liability may be established merely by a preponderance of the evidence.  A given act may constitute a crime as well as a tort.


For example, if Person A intentionally hits Person B, he is guilty of the crime of battery and may be imprisoned while simultaneously Person B can sue Person A and, if successful, Person A may be ordered to pay money damages to Person B for the tort of battery.

Misdemeanors vs. Felonies

The outcome of your case depends also on your criminal history. When there's a history of offenses, a misdemeanor may be upgraded to a felony, which Bears longer jail time and much higher fines. You may get probation that includes community service, electronic monitoring, treatment programs and paying restitution. Expungement may be possible to clear your record of some offense charges or convictions.


Less serious crimes are classified as misdemeanors.  These typically carry a maximum of up to one year in the county jail. Examples include petty theft, possession of small amounts of controlled substances, and first-time DUI's.


  • As a Sherman Oaks Misdemeanor Attorney, Gil Arbel helps local people who face criminal charges and those who have to do with an existing misdemeanor offense. In California, a misdemeanor is a less serious offense than a felony, and it bears lower penalties of up to a year in local county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. For some aggravated offenses like domestic battery or driving on a suspended license, fines are higher. These crimes are committed either against another person or the public-good of the State.

Typical misdemeanors include:

  • DUI/DWI & Reckless Driving

  • Petty Theft

  • Assault

  • Public Nuisance

  • Prostitution

To learn more about fighting Misdemeanor offenses, contact the Law Firm of Gil Arbel in Los Angeles, California.

If you or a loved one has been accused of or charged with a misdemeanor offense of any type, contact the Law Firm of Gil Arbel, esq. immediately for legal assistance and representation.  When you have a criminal record showing a conviction on that misdemeanor charge, it can cause you trouble long into your future.


Crimes of a more serious nature are classified as felonies.  These carry punishments of a year or more in state or federal prison.  Felonies include violent crimes like murder, burglary, and rape, as well as white collar crimes like embezzlement and money laundering. 

Where no different punishment is prescribed by law, every offense declared to be a felony, or to be punishable by imprisonment in a state prison, is punishable by imprisonment in any of the state prisons for 16 months, or two or three years.

However, every felony punishable by imprisonment in a state prison or by a fine, but without an alternate sentence to the county jail, may be punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year, by a fine, or by both.


Thus, for example, after conviction of a felony and the denial of probation, the court must pronounce judgment by imposing a fine or a sentence of imprisonment.


Where the defendant is convicted of a felony for which no punishment by a fine is specifically provided for, the court may nevertheless impose a fine not exceeding a specified amount in addition to the prison sentence.


The punishment for commission of a particular felony may be enhanced in certain circumstances, such as where the defendant has been previously convicted of particular types of felonies.

Esquire provides aggressive legal representation in the area of criminal defense, including misdemeanors, drug charges, and DUI DWI. Located in Sherman Oaks and serving clients throughout Southern California including Los Angeles, Ventura, orange, Riverside, Kern, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties.