Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


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 ?
Adam Duncan, 25, of Herrin, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine, a Class 3 felony and possession of hypodermic syringes and needles, a Class A misdemeanor.
4) This is especially true for cases involving relatively low-level prosecutions, which I consider for the purposes of this Article to be prosecutions for either a low-grade felony or a misdemeanor.
require substantial elaboration: misdemeanor justice in New York City
He adds that more stringent rules apply in cases where existing students at the school are convicted of committing a misdemeanor or worse offenses.
With a looming $1 million budget cut and a staff shortage, the district attorney will no longer file charges in about 2,000 misdemeanor cases annually.
Ashley Kaminski, 23, of Marion, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine, a Class A misdemeanor on June, 9, 2016.
The maximum penalties in tribal court for misdemeanors are up to 1 year in jail and $5,000 in fines per count.
Douglas McDermott, 39, of Carbondale, pleaded guilty to theft, a Class A misdemeanor.
Arion Bulliner, 26, of Murphysboro, pleaded guilty to criminal damage to property, a Class A misdemeanor.
A misdemeanor arrestee brought a civil rights action against a county and county officials, alleging he was subjected to unconstitutional strip searches while in jail.