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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 ?
According to details, the CJ Peshawar High Court made surprise visit to the district jails and issued orders of some sixty prisoners involved in petty crime for release.
We have to expand the availability of registered users obtaining drugs legally; which would also eliminate both much organised and petty crime.
MUMBAI: Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan is slated to play a pickpocket's victim in a new film that will focus on the tragic consequences of what seems like a petty crime.
Samson parlayed an impressive physique into a life of petty crime and then blew it by letting his girlfriend cut off his hair," notes Cathexis.
Violent and petty crime are prevalent throughout the country.
Most of them have work permits, but those who do not drift into the criminal underworld of drugs, prostitution and petty crime,' explains Grazia.
The young people who work for him have all been classified "at risk" and have gotten into scrapes: truancy, drug use, petty crime, gang activity.
Osmena earlier dangled a P50,000 reward for every dead petty crime suspect and P5,000 each for those wounded as part of his campaign against criminality.
SIR - The flagship policy of the Tories, the destruction of the welfare state, by waging war on the poor and making them even more desperate, must create more petty crime in the next generation, must mean broken families from arguing about money and crushed ambitions, children taken into care, and damage to the education and life chances of their children.
Stephen Polson, defending, said Pearson was a rather naive 18-year-old who had now stepped into the big league from petty crime.