Badge - Rated by Super Lawyers Victor A. Rotolo
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Badge - New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Attorney
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Badge - New Jersey's Best Lawyers For Families 2018
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Badge - AV Preeminent Victor A. Rotolo
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Badge - Top 100 The National Trial Lawyers
Please click Award & Selection Criteria & Methodology for information regarding the specific criteria used for selection of each of the above awards.

Criminal vs. Civil

Anthony Kearns, Victor Rotolo, and the attorneys at Kearns Rotolo Law handle both civil matters and criminal matters. While we deal with these different types of cases on a daily basis, we realize that quite often our clients may not understand the differences between a civil matter versus a criminal matter. Below we provide a brief explanation of some of the key differences between a civil and criminal matter which may be useful. If, after reading the information you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact our law office to speak with one of our attorneys.

Victor Rotolo successfully argues before the NJ Supreme Court in a case of constitutional import, in which the Court ruled that a DUI conviction cannot be used in any later DUI case for sentencing purposes if, (1) the individual plead or was found guilty, and (2) the individual was not advised of his/her right to counsel and, as to indigent individuals, the right to assigned counsel.

Super Lawyers Badge Victor A. Rotolo has been included on the List of New Jersey Super Lawyers in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023, marking his eighteenth year of inclusion on this list. The list of New Jersey Super Lawyers is generated by the Thomson Reuters organization which employs the following methodology and set of standards to compile the list each year. Super Lawyers Selection Methodology [No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court.]

Certified Civil Trial Attorney Badge Victor A. Rotolo is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney.

"A certified attorney is more than just an attorney who specializes in a particular area of law. A New Jersey attorney who is certified by the Supreme Court as a civil trial attorney must have:

  • been a member in good standing of the New Jersey bar for over 5 years
  • demonstrated a substantial level of experience in civil trial law
  • been favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with his or her work
  • taken and passed a written examination in civil trial law."

Source: Supreme Court of New Jersey, Board on Attorney Certification, Brochure on Certified Civil Trial Attorney. See Rule 1:39: Specialty Certification of Attorneys.

Civil versus Criminal – Understanding the Differences

A harmful act committed against our society is referred to as a crime and falls under the jurisdiction of the Criminal Justice System. Criminal offenses are accusations of a crime against our society in general and as a whole. In contrast, civil cases mainly involve disputes between people or entities (i.e., a corporation).

There are other key differences between a criminal and civil case. Some key differences noted are as follows:

CivilCriminal
Commencement: A civil case begins with a claim by a plaintiff (a person or entity such as a corporation or the government) against a defendant (the person failing to carry out a legal duty owed to the plaintiff).Commencement: A criminal case begins when the harmful act is committed. A victim of a criminal act is not responsible for initiating a case against the accused. The government, either federal or state, will prosecute an accused criminal.
Parties: There is a plaintiff(s) and defendant(s) which are also referred to as ‘parties’ or ‘litigants.’Parties: The government prosecutes the case through the United States Attorney's Office (federal crimes) or the New Jersey’s attorney's office (state crimes).
Outcome: Courts order the defendant to fulfill a duty or to make compensation for harm done or possibly both.Outcome: A person that is found guilty of committing a crime receives a sentence, and the sentence may be in the form of
  1. a monetary fine or restitution to the victim ordered by the courts, and/or
  2. loss of liberty or supervision.
Purpose: The purpose of civilian law is to make sure that rights under the Constitution or under Federal or State Law are protected.Purpose: The purposes of criminal law are to protect and to serve.
  • to express public morality (when the public decides the law by what is right or wrong depending on the community)
  • to teach sociable boundaries (when the criminal is punished to be taught a lesson)
Attorneys Fees: Each party pays directly for his/her attorney fees although sometimes the payment of legal fees is included in the Court’s rulingAttorneys Fees: Our Federal and State taxes pay for the prosecuting attorney’s salary (and the entire office); most times the accused pays for his/her legal fees, however, a court-appointed attorney is used when the accused cannot pay legal fees
Examples: contract disputes between parties, sexual harassment suits, accidents.Examples: murder, assault, rape, sexual abuse, theft, robbery, burglary, fraud.


If you or a loved one is accused of committing a crime, call the experienced attorneys at Kearns Rotolo Law.

Call Kearns Rotolo Law today - (908) 534-7900.

What Our Clients are Saying
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I was very proud to be represented by Tony and felt secure at a time I needed a compass to head out of a difficult bind. Confidence in your counsel and a sense of security in understanding how best to proceed are important reasons to consider Anthony Kearns and his team of outstanding lawyers.

- Lynn
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Tony was excellent! He was knowledgeable, responsive and on-time. His experience as a County Prosecutor definitely helped our case as he knows how the legal system works and how to navigate. I highly recommend Tony and his office.

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Thankfully I found Kearns Rotolo Law and I had a wonderful experience working with Charles Rifici on a difficult divorce/child custody issue. I am so grateful for all the work and guidance he provided. He always took his time and diligently went through all my options with me so I could make the decisions that benefitted my family and I. I will be forever thankful for the top notch services he provided.

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In March of 2022 I contacted Kearns Rotolo Law Firm with an urgent problem, Mr. Kearns and Mr. Rotolo contacted me immediately to give me hope as to rectify my problem. The end result was Mr Kearns was able to solve my issue through extreme professionalism, I am very grateful I found Kearns Rotolo Law firm and I would recommend their law firm to anyone that has a less extreme problem or a more complex problem, I am very grateful for their services.

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The absolute BEST!!! I have a family of attorneys but needed someone local. Victor was recommended to me and words cannot describe how pleased I was with his firm. The outstanding service and attention each member of his staff gave to me surpassed any and all expectations. Victor surrounds himself with a hardworking team that he leads. I felt it was money spent wisely. I will continue to recommend Victor and his associates.

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