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MISDEMEANOR Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

In criminal law. A general name for criminal offenses of every sort, punishable by indictment or special proceedings, which do not in law amount to the grade of felony. A misdemeanor is an act committed or omitted in violation of a public law either forbidding or commanding it. This general definition, however, comprehends both “crimes” and “misdemeanors,” which, properly speaking, are mere synonymous terms; though, in common usage, the word “crimes” is made to denote such offenses as are of a deeper and more atrocious dye; while smaller faults and omissions of less consequence are comprised under the milder term of “misdemeanors” only. In the English law, “misdemeanor” is generally used in contradistinction to “felony;” and misdemeanors comprehend all indictable offenses which do not amount to felony, as libels, conspiracies, attempts, and solicitations to commit felonies, etc. Brown. And see People v. Upson, 79 llun, 87, 29 N. Y. Supp. 615; In re Bergin, 31 Wis. 386; Kelly v. People, 132 111, 363, 24 N. E. 56; State v. Hunter. 67 Ala. 83; Walsh v. People, 65 111. 65, 16 Am. Rep. 569.


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