Misdemeanor definition

mĭsdĭ-mēnər
Frequency:
(law) 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.
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The act or an instance of misbehaving; minor transgression.
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A misdeed.
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The definition of a misdemeanor is a criminal offense more serious than an infraction and less serious than a felony. Federal criminal law classifies a misdemeanor as one in which the maximum punishment in terms of jail time is less than one year. Approximately half of the state legal systems also use this classification. In other states, the classification of a misdemeanor is a crime in which the only punishments that can be handed down are fines or jail time. In those states, crimes allowing any other punishment, such as seizure of property or the death penalty, would automatically be felonies.

Shoplifting a small amount of goods is an example of a misdemeanor.

An example of a misdemeanor is a crime for which you may receive jail time or a fine and have a criminal record, but for which you may not receive more than 12 months of jail time.

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(law) A crime usually punishable upon conviction by a small fine or by a short term of imprisonment. Crimes which are punishable by great fines or by longer imprisonment are usually called felonies.
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(law) Any minor offense, as the breaking of a municipal ordinance, for which statute provides a lesser punishment than for a felony: the penalty is usually a fine or imprisonment for a short time (usually less than one year) in a local jail, workhouse, etc.
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A crime considered to be less serious than a felony, and that receives a lesser punishment (typically a sentence of one year or less).
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
misdemeanor
Plural:
misdemeanors

Origin of misdemeanor

  • Mis (prefix) against, opposing and 'demeanor'. See 'demeanor' for further explanation.

    From Wiktionary

  • mis- +"Ž demeanor

    From Wiktionary