misdemeanor (mis-di-mee-n<<schwa>>r).1. A crime that is less serious than a felony and is usu. punishable by fine, penalty, forfeiture, or confinement (usu. for a brief term) in a place other than prison (such as a county jail). — Also termed minor crime; summary offense. Cf.
FELONY(1). [Cases: Criminal Law 27. C.J.S. Criminal Law §§ 9–12.]
“ ‘Misdemeanor’ was the label ultimately adopted to apply to all offenses other than treason or felony. The term included a wide variety of wrongs and misprisions. Many of the substantive legal principles and procedures applicable to felonies were not applied in the case of misdemeanors. The difference in treatment between felonies and misdemeanors has carried over from common law to current practice, and today misdemeanors are often treated differently than felonies [in] the procedures employed in trying such cases as well as [in] the consequences of a conviction. The traditional distinction between felonies and misdemeanors has been abolished in England.” Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N. Boyce, Criminal Law 15 (3d ed. 1982).
gross misdemeanor.A serious misdemeanor, though not a felony. — Also termed high
high misdemeanor.1.gross misdemeanor2. See serious misdemeanor.
serious misdemeanor.One of a class of misdemeanors having more severe penalties than most other misdemeanors. • Conduct rising to the level of a serious misdemeanor can, in some jurisdictions, be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. — Also termed high misdemeanor; indictable misdemeanor; penitentiary misdemeanor; aggravated misdemeanor.
treasonable misdemeanor.See TREASONABLE MISDEMEANOR.
2.Archaic. Any crime, including a felony.“A crime, or misdemeanor, is an act committed, or omitted, in violation of a public law, either forbidding or commanding it. This general definition comprehends both crimes and misdemeanors; which, properly speaking, are mere synonymous terms: though, in common usage, the word, ‘crimes,’ is made to denote such offences as are of a deeper and more atrocious dye; while smaller faults, and omissions of less consequence, are comprised under the gentler names of ‘misdemeanors’ only.” 4 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 5 (1769).
[Blacks Law 8th]