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Offenses lower than felonies and generally those punishable by fine, penalty, Forfeiture, or imprisonment other than in a penitentiary. Under federal law, and most state laws, any offense other than a felony is classified as a misdemeanor. Certain states also have various classes of misdemeanors (e.g., Class A, B, etc.).

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. a lesser crime punishable by a fine and/or county jail time for up to one year. Misdemeanors are distinguished from felonies which can be punished by a state prison term. They are tried in the lowest local court such as municipal, police or justice courts. Typical misdemeanors include: petty theft, disturbing the peace, simple assault and battery, drunk driving without injury to others, drunkenness in public, various traffic violations, public nuisances, and some crimes which can be charged either as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances and the discretion of the District Attorney. "High crimes and misdemeanors" referred to in the U. S. Constitution are felonies. (See: felony)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

MISDEMEANOR, crim. law. This term is used to express every offence inferior to felony, punishable by indictment, or by particular prescribed proceedings; in its usual acceptation, it is applied to all those crimes and offences for which the law has not provided a particular name; this word is generally used in contradistinction to felony; misdemeanors comprehending all indictable offences, which do not amount to felony, as perjury, battery, libels, conspiracies and public nuisances.
     2. Misdemeanors have sometimes been called misprisions. (q.v.) Burn's Just. tit. Misdemeanor; 4 Bl. Com. 5, n. 2; 2 Bar. & Adolph. 75: 1 Russell, 43; 1 Chitty, Pr. 14; 3 Vern. 347; 2 Hill, S. C. 674; Addis. 21; 3 Pick. 26; 1 Greenl. 226; 2 P. A. Browne, 249; 9 Pick. 1; 1 S. & R. 342; 6 Call. 245; 4 Wend. 229; 2 Stew. & Port. 379. And see 4 Wend. 229, 265; 12 Pick. 496; 3 Mass. 254; 5 Mass. 106. See Offence.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Figures from May show that the most common crime reported was theft from a vehicle, reported 11 times in the month.
9,876 crimes were recorded by North Wales Police in January and February with the most common crime being violence and sexual offences, with 3,272 instances recorded by the force.
15 per cent of EU citizens were victims of "common crime" in 2004, compared with a 1995 peak of 21 per cent
Department of Justice uses its nationwide forfeiture program as part of a financial incentive system to encourage greater cooperation in addressing common crime problems.
"It is one thing to face political persecution and another to face charges of a common crime like the one [Espinosa] is facing in Mexico," said Ortega.
Despite the obvious differences between the organizations, tactics, motives, and objectives of the various elements that constitute international terrorism and organized crime (ITOC), all have one thing in common--they are engaged in what the Organiza-tion of American States (OAS) has recently defined as "grave common crime." This situation is more than a complex law enforcement problem.
Mugging, or theft from a person, was by far the most common crime, with 40 incidents reported in just one month, averaging out to more than one per day.
SWS: More Pinoy families victimized by common crimes in Q4 2018 !-- -- (philstar.com) - February 23, 2019 - 2:34pm MANILA, Philippines The proportion of Filipino families that reported being victimized by common crimes in the past six months rose in the final three months of 2018, a new Social Weather Stations survey found.
Violating the residency law was the most common crime committed by expats in 2017, with 2,649 cases, followed by entering the country illegally with 1,256 cases.
Sergeant Sue Richards, of North Wales Police, said: "Although this is not a common crime in Mold, I would urge shoppers - especially women with purses - to make sure that they are put safely in their handbags.

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