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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 ?
Frankie Robertson, 46, of Carbondale, pleaded guilty to criminal trespassing, a Class B misdemeanor.
62) Today, the vast majority of jurisdictions include some misdemeanors in their lists of registerable offenses.
A felony conviction would have disqualified Reynolds from serving out his term in the District 27 seat, but a misdemeanor would not, according to the Texas secretary of state's office.
that emerged during this era of mass misdemeanors also display this
He says HBCUs should address issues like misdemeanors and more serious offenses "because of the historic mission of HBCUs" and family histories of many students attending the institutions.
He said he already has shifted as much misdemeanor work as possible to others on the 24-lawyer criminal prosecution staff.
Doherty argued that the introduction of his confession into evidence in federal court violated his Sixth Amendment right to counsel because he had already been arraigned for a statutory rape misdemeanor tribal charge, arising from the same facts as the federal charges, and had requested an attorney at his own expense in accordance with the ICRA.
Misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter is punishable by up to a year in jail, and felony hit-and-run is punishable by up to four years in prison.
The inmates had been arrested for misdemeanor offenses and were subjected to intake searches before entering the general jail population.
But Stern said he was pleased that they were criminally convicted, even of misdemeanors, rather than having the case settled administratively by the state Fair Political Practices Commission and the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission.
Ronald Sanders, 27, of Murphysboro, pleaded guilty to resisting a peace officer, a Class A misdemeanor.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed budget would drastically worsen the problem, allowing thousands of defendants convicted of misdemeanors to go free without serving any jail time at all.