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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.).

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
But Alexandra Natapoff's new book Punishment Without Crime makes it clear that the young mom's plight is relatively typical for Americans, especially poor Americans, who have the misfortune to interact with the edifices of government that enforce laws against misdemeanors, traffic violations, and other supposedly "petty" offenses.
The book is a deep sociological dive into the workings of New York City's lower court system, which processes hundreds of thousands of misdemeanor cases every year.
Natapoff also explains how misdemeanor justice often sweeps in, and does not toss out, many cases that are legally weak or morally dubious.
by the degree of force that supports a common-law battery conviction." In light of this unequivocal statement, any conviction for violating Code 18.2-57.2 involves a sufficient use of physical force to qualify as a conviction for a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence," as that term is used in 18 U.S.C.
From 1943 until 2017, Section 15-1 stated that all misdemeanors except malicious misdemeanors must be presented or found by the grand jury within two years after the commission of the same, "and not afterwards."
As an aside, this is not the only such anomalous sentencing disparity between misdemeanors and felonies in Oregon's criminal code.
This Article's primary claim is that attaching those sorts of collateral consequences to misdemeanor offenses provides prosecutors with strong incentives to charge a borderline case as a misdemeanor rather than a felony.
Under a 1977 state law, it's only a violation to have up to 25 grams of marijuana in a pocket or bag, but the offense rises to a misdemeanor if the pot is being smoked or is ''open to public view.''
The Misdemeanor Deferred Prosecution Enhancement Program (MDPEP), funded by the grant, will be piloted at the District 6 (Markham) Courthouse.
(6) Recidivist adjustments exist for both misdemeanor and felony offenses.
It wasn't many years ago that a domestic violence misdemeanor was treated little different than a traffic violation.
Ramos had claimed that West punched him in an unprovoked attack and wrestled his camera to the ground during the scuffle and the rapper had been charged with misdemeanor counts of battery and grand theft.