Quasi-criminal means a
lawsuitor equity proceedingthat has some, but not all, of the qualities of a criminal prosecution. It may appear in either a Common lawor a Civil law jurisdiction. It refers to "a court's right to punish for actions or omissions as if they were criminal." [http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/quasi-criminal The Free Dictionary] . Accessed June 30, 2008.]
The origins of the phrase comes from the
Latin languageword, "quasi", meaning somewhat, sort-of, alike or akin, to criminal law, as in Quasi-contract. [See also Quasimodo.] "Quasi" is used "to indicate that one subject resembles another, with which it is compared, in certain characteristics, but there are intrinsic and material differences between them." [N.Y. Jur. 2d, Words and Phrases, "Quasi".]
During a civil or equity trial, a court may act as if it were a criminal case to punish a person for
contempt of court. [ [http://www.legalexplanations.com legalexplanations.com ] ] In some cases, a court may impose asset forfeitureor another penalty. [Ballentine's Law Dictionary, p. 450] For example, a court has the right to punish actions or omissions of a party in a child supportcase as if they were a criminal, penalizing the parent with a sentence of jailtime. [ [http://dictionary.com/default2.asp?selected=1689&bold=%7C%7C%7C%7C Law Dictionary] ]
"Quasi-criminal proceedings" include a wide variety of matters, including prosecution for a
Violationof law or Ordinance, Psychiatricmatters, Motor vehiclelaw, Status offenses, Family courtactions, and Equity proceedings such as a Writ. What these various legal matters have in common are these factors:
# They may be instituted by a
Governmentagent on behalf of a private citizen, or
# They may be instituted by a private citizen on behalf of the Government, "
# They implicate
Fundamental rightsor Constitutional rights, subjecting the Lawinvolved to Strict scrutinyby the Judiciary. [http://www.njlaws.com/quasicriminalrights.htm Quasi criminal rights of persons charged with Motor vehicle offenses including DWI and Driving While Suspended ] , citing "State v. Cooper", 129 N.J. Super. 229, 231 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 66 N.J. 329 (1974); "State v. Selzer", 57 N.J. Super. 327, 330 (Law Div. 1959); "State v. Rowe", 116 N.J.L. 48, 51 (1935); "Vickey v. Nessler", 230 N.J. Super. 141, 149 (1989); amongst other cases.]
# Because of that, they may be subject to the
Miranda warningenunciated under the Legal doctrinein " Miranda v. Arizona" or foreign counterparts.
#They are subject to requirements for
Bail, if any. [ [http://law.justia.com/illinois/codes/chapter54/1987.html Illinois law] ]
Types of Quasi-criminal proceedings
"Quasi-criminal" actions include:
# A Violation of law, offense, or Ordinance, especially a
Motor vehiclelaw, Parking ticket, or Traffic ticket. [N.Y. Penal law, § 10.00, which uses the termm "offense", found at [http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menugetf.cgi?COMMONQUERY=LAWS] , go to "PEN", article 10.] [http://www.cookcountycourt.org/rules/rules/rulespart11.html Rules of the Cook County Circult Court, Illnois Website] . Accessed June 30, 2008.] [Montaldo, Charles [http://crime.about.com/od/g_criminal/g/quscrmnlct.htm Quasi-criminal on the About.com Website] . Accessed June 30, 2008.] David L. Ratley, Judicial Council of Georgia, Administrative Office of the Courts, Memorandum, Zoning & Traffic Fine Questions as applied to POABF, December 18, 2003, found at [http://research.georgiacourts.org/OpinionDocs/Bray17thPOABF.fin.doc.doc Georgia Courts Memo on Application of Quasi-criminal] . Accessed June 30, 2008.]
# Psychiatric matters, such as
Civil confinement, Mental hygienecommitments, and similar proceedings. [New York Mental Hygiene law, article 81.]
# Regulatory offenses, such as
Health departmentviolations, hunting or fishing without a license, and Driving While Intoxicated or Ability Impaired ( D.W.I.or D.W.A.I.) when such is not a Misdemeanor.
Family courtactions, including "PINS" ( Person in need of supervision) or Truancy, Juvenile delinquency, Child support, Paternityor Filiation, Child custody, and Child visitation("Parenting time"). It may also include, in some states, a Divorceaction or family offense petition.
# Equity proceedings such as a
Writ, Qui tam, Contempt of court, Bankruptcy, fraud, and the like.
Court system of Canada
Criminal law in Canada
Prostitution in the People's Republic of China
Slander and libel
Strict liability (criminal)
Trespass to Property Act of Ontario
# Dennis P. Stolle & Mark D. Stuann, "Defending Depositions in High-stakes Civil and Quasi-criminal Litigation", West. Crim. Rev. 4(2), at pp. 134-142 (2003), found at: [http://wcr.sonoma.edu/v4n2/manuscripts/stollestuaan.pdf]
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