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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 ?
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.
The federal government may not hire people with misdemeanor records for myriad permanent jobs that are security related in the FBI, Secret Service, IRS and U.
The Nadler amendment is modeled on the highly successful Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, a provision added to federal law in 1996 that prohibits gun possession by persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses.
In my own society it is and was perceived as a misdemeanor.
Henry Scholten, 21, of Healdsburg, was appearing before Commissioner Stephany Joy in Santa Rosa Tuesday on misdemeanor charges when he allegedly tried to attack the judge after being ordered to jail for violating his probation.
plead nolo contendere in state court to two misdemeanor
Wilfredo Briswela, 22, of Rosamond is charged with felony hit-and-run and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in the death of 20-year-old Tyler Lundin of Palmdale, whose death has become a rallying point for local residents opposed to illegal immigration.
House of Representatives passed on a voice vote an amendment offered by Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to prohibit gun possession by individuals convicted of misdemeanor sex offenses against minors.
He was arrested on October 13th and charged with three counts of a Class D Felony and two counts of a Class A Misdemeanor.
They convicted him of misdemeanor reckless driving.
The Cache County Attorney's Office on Tuesday charged Wallace with third-degree felony drug distribution as well as misdemeanor drug possession and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.