Misdemeanor

An offense punishable by one year of imprisonment or less. See also felony">felony.

Lawyer Advertising Toll Free Numbers

Additional Sources

Answers.com

A criminal offense that is less serious than a felony and generally punishable by a fine, a jail term of up to a year, or both.

Duhaime Legal Dictionary

"At common law, crimes fell into two categories: indictable offences which included treason, felonies and misdemeanours, triable only by judge and jury; and petty offences, which were tried summarily by justices of the peace sitting without a jury.

"The distinction between felonies and misdemeanours was particularly important. Felonies invoved more heinous crimes such as murder, burglary and rape and had more serious consequences than misdemeanours. For example, all felonies were originally punishable by death (with the exception of petty larceny and mayhem) and a conviction resulted in forfeiture of the felon's property (to the Crown). A misdemeanour, on the other hand, was never punishable by death and rarely involved any forfeiture.

FindLaw

a crime that carries a less severe punishment than a felony

a crime punishable by a fine and by a term of imprisonment not to be served in a penitentiary and not to exceed one year

Law.com Dictionary

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.

Lect Law Library

MISDEMEANOR - A minor crime (as opposed to a felony). A crime - less serious than a felony - which is punishable by fine or imprisonment in a city or county jail rather than in a penitentiary.

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.

Legal-Dictionary.org

An offense lower than a felony in seriousness, and usually punishable by fine, service, or any means other than imprisonment in a penitentiary.

The Free (Legal) Dictionary

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.

Wikipedia

A misdemeanor, or misdemeanour in many common law legal systems, is a "lesser" criminal act. Misdemeanors are generally punished much less severely than felonies, but theoretically more so than administrative infractions (also known as regulatory offenses). Many misdemeanors are punished with monetary fines.

In the United States, the federal government generally considers a crime punishable with incarceration for one year or less to be a misdemeanor.