Misdemeanor

Misdemeanor in the United States

A misdemeanor is a relatively minor criminal offense. Misdemeanors are generally punished by fine, but can involve detention at a county jail for up to one year. Misdemeanors are defined by each state and will vary somewhat. Some states choose to create gradations of misdemeanors and categorize them into classes such as Class A and Class B. Misdemeanors are typically such offenses as moving traffic violations, disorderly conduct, petty theft, or shoplifting. Misdemeanors are quite different from felonies, which are the more serious category of criminal behavior. Simply put, the consequences of a misdemeanor are limited as measured by injury or economic loss suffered by the victim.

See Also

Felony (Criminal Process).

Analysis and Relevance

Misdemeanors are the most common criminal offense, and misdemeanor cases place a great demand on judicial dockets. Jurisdiction over misdemeanors is usually assigned to courts of limited jurisdiction such as local district or municipal courts. Because of the high volume of misdemeanors, many are handled summarily. This means that there is seldom a trial and often cases are concluded at first appearance with the payment of a fine. It is the court with misdemeanor jurisdiction that is in the mind of those critical of the “mass production” approach to criminal justice. In reality, the more formalized criminal proceedings are reserved for those accused of felonies rather than misdemeanors.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Misdemeanor from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Misdemeanor Definition

Every offense inferior to felony. See Felony.

Misdemeanor in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias

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Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the World Legal Encyclopedia.
Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the European Legal Encyclopedia.
Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia.
Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the UK Legal Encyclopedia.
Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the Australian Legal Encyclopedia.

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Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the Family Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the IP Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the Commercial Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the Criminal Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the Antritrust Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the Bankruptcy Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the Constitutional Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the Tax Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the and Finance and Banking Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the Employment and Labor Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the Personal Injury and Tort Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Misdemeanor Misdemeanor in the Environmental Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.

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Legal Issue for Attorneys

Every offense inferior to felony. See Felony.

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Notice

This definition of Misdemeanor Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This definition needs to be proofread..

Plain-English Law

Misdemeanor as defined by Nolo’s Encyclopedia of Everyday Law (p. 437-455):

A crime, less serious than a felony, punishable by no more than one year in jail.

Practical Information

Note: Some of this information was last updated in 1982

An offense lower than a felony (in U.S. law) and generally punishable by fine or imprisonment in a place other than a state penitentiary.

(Revised by Ann De Vries)

What is Misdemeanor?

For a meaning of it, read Misdemeanor in the Legal Dictionary here. Browse and search more U.S. and international free legal definitions and legal terms related to Misdemeanor.

Misdemeanor

United States Constitution

According to the Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, about its article titled 426 MISDEMEANORA misdemeanor is one of a class of offenses considered less heinous, and punished less severely, than felonies. Generally, misdemeanors are punishable by fine or by incarceration in facilities other than penitentiaries for terms of up to one year. Federal law and most state statutes
(read more about Constitutional law entries here).

Some Constitutional Law Popular Entries

Concept of Misdemeanor

In the U.S., in the context of Judiciary power and branch, Misdemeanor has the following meaning: A relatively minor criminal offense, like possession of small amounts of marijuana, assault without bodily injury, and theft of goods and services whose value is small. (Source of this definition of Misdemeanor : University of Texas)

Misdemeanor

Meaning of Misdemeanor

In plain or simple terms, Misdemeanor means: A minor offense, lower than a felony, and punishable by a fine or imprisonment other than in penitentiaries.

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See Also

  • Judiciary Power
  • Judiciary Branch

Meaning of Misdemeanor

In plain or simple terms, Misdemeanor means: A minor offense, lower than a felony, and punishable by a fine or imprisonment other than in penitentiaries.

Resources

See Also

Breathalyzer®; Felony.

Further Reading (Articles)

Managerial Justice and Mass Misdemeanors, Stanford Law Review; March 1, 2014; Kohler-Hausmann, Issa

Cities to start prosecuting misdemeanors?, Oakland Tribune; May 10, 2009; Matthias Gafni

BEACH FORBIDS PRIVATE PROSECUTORS TO ARGUE MISDEMEANOR CASES.(LOCAL), The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA); February 19, 2002

Misdemeanors on rise in Yuma., The Sun (Yuma, AZ); October 20, 2006

The Price of Misdemeanor Representation, William and Mary Law Review; November 1, 2007; Hashimoto, Erica J.

Police: Misdemeanor arrests will continue despite Contra Costa DA cuts, Oakland Tribune; April 22, 2009; Malaika Fraley Robert Salonga

Misdemeanor, Encyclopedia of the American Constitution; January 1, 2000

22 ARRESTED DURING WARRANTS CRACKDOWN UNRESOLVED MISDEMEANORS MEANJAIL TIME, The Columbian (Vancouver, WA); June 25, 2000; ANNE HART, Columbian

22 ARRESTED DURING WARRANTS CRACKDOWN ; UNRESOLVED MISDEMEANORS MEAN JAIL TIME, The Columbian (Vancouver, WA); June 25, 2000; ANNE HART, Columbian staff writer

March 30 fight nets charges for Purdue’s Lymon: Former Harding standout faces 6 misdemeanor counts., The News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, IN); September 8, 2007

Misdemeanor Charges Sought in Deadly DUI Crash, Charleston Daily Mail; January 28, 2013; Shaner, Cassie

D.C. Circuit Holds That Former Purdue Pharma Executives Who Pleaded Guilty to Misdemeanor Misbranding May Be Excluded from Participation in Federal Health Care Programs, Mondaq Business Briefing; August 8, 2012

Yuma County Attorney’s Office leading state in notifying misdemeanor crime victims of rights., The Sun (Yuma, AZ); March 4, 2007

Study finds `massive waste’ in misdemeanor cases, AP Online; April 29, 2009; TIM KLASS

In fatal crashes, often only a ticket; Many careless drivers who take a life face just a misdemeanor.(NEWS), Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN); May 22, 2011

Misdemeanor Offenses May Come Back to Haunt Criminals, NPR Morning Edition; June 7, 1994

KOOTENAI COUNTY PLANS CRACKDOWN FOR MISDEMEANORS, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA); July 2, 1998; Alison Boggs Staff writer

Washougal mayor faces misdemeanor charge, The Columbian (Vancouver, WA); June 17, 2011; Ray Legendre

Governor Backs Misdemeanor Option for Gun Crimes, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL); December 16, 1999; Thompson, DonAnnals of impeachment; Magic words: `High crimes and misdemeanors’.(NEWS), Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN); November 15, 1998; Black, Eric

Misdemeanor in the context of Juvenile and Family Law

Definition ofMisdemeanor published by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges:A crime less serious than a felony, usually punishable by a fine or incarceration in a city or county jail, but not a state penitentiary.

Misdemeanor Definition in the context of the Federal Court System

An offense punishable by one year of imprisonment or less. Compare with “felony.”

Misdemeanor: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

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Federal primary materials about Misdemeanor by content types:

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US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
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Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Misdemeanor and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Misdemeanor or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Misdemeanor and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Misdemeanor. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Misdemeanor should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Misdemeanor when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

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