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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.).


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)


noun act committed in violation of law, act of lawbreaking, breach of law, crime committed, criminal act, criminal activity, criminal offense, delictum, dereliction, guilty act, illegality, improbity, impropriety, infamous conduct, malfeasance, malversation, misdeed, misdoing, misfeasance, offense, offense against the law, peccadillo, punishable offense, transgression, viooation of law, wicked deed, wrong
Associated concepts: felony, high crimes and misdemeanors, misdemeanor complaint, petit misdemeanor, violation
See also: crime, delict, guilt, misconduct, misdeed, misdoing, offense

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.

References in periodicals archive ?
Theft was also the most common crime in the Dyfed-Powys area in both 2007/08 and 2008/09 where there were a total of 1,373 arrests last year.
Integral to this competition is federal legislation, initially enacted in 1984, which created a fund to act as a depository for money generated from the seizure and forfeiture of property and permitted federal agencies to enhance their budgetary resources through the use of forfeited property, the reimbursement of investigative expenses, and the ability to compensate state and local enforcement agencies in return for the use of their personnel to address common crime problems.
He is being accused of common crime, and it would a legal distortion to declare him a political refugee," said Jaime Morales Carazo, an aide to Aleman.
3 per cent, it was still the most common crime committed, accounting for about one-fifth of all offences.
Fraud was the most common crime, with other immigrants usually the defrauded victim.
International terrorism and organized crime (ITOC), are engaged in what the Organization of American States (OAS) has recently defined as "grave common crime.
Forgery Although less costly to the victim than fraud, forgery is a common crime committed over the Internet, says Ira Winkler, director of technology for the National Computer Security Association (www.
The most common crime reported was racially or religiously aggravated harassment causing alarm or distress, with 41 incidents.
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.
The third most common crime was money laundering with 25 per cent of Cypriot companies reporting that they had fallen victim over the past two years, in contrast to 11 per cent of all the companies in West Europe participating in the survey.
The most common crime Coventry's youngsters were caught doing was theft and handling stolen goods.