Everyone knows that court action begins with a trial, or, at least, the threat of one. A trial litigates both factual and legal issues like, “Was the light green?” or “Was the police officer’s search unconstitutional?” Thus, the purpose of a trial is (1) to determine what happened and (2) to determine if what happened makes a defendant liable for damages or subject to some other kind of court remedy, like an injunction. A civil trial might end in an award of monetary damages, or even an order to stop certain behavior, and a court judgment embodying those remedies. A criminal trial, likewise, could end with large fines, jail time, and an adjudication of guilt that can negatively impact employment prospects and even negatively impact certain civil rights, like the ability to vote and possess a firearm.
What is a person to do in the face of such consequences? Appeal.