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in law, a minor crime, in contrast to a felonyfelony
, any grave crime, in contrast to a misdemeanor, that is so declared in statute or was so considered in common law. In early English law a felony was a heinous act that canceled the perpetrator's feudal rights and forfeited his lands and goods to the king, thus depriving
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. At common lawcommon law,
system of law that prevails in England and in countries colonized by England. The name is derived from the medieval theory that the law administered by the king's courts represented the common custom of the realm, as opposed to the custom of local jurisdiction that
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 a misdemeanor was a crime other than treason or a felony. Although it might be a grave offense, it did not affect the feudal bond or take away the offender's property. By the 19th cent. serious crimes were labeled felonies, and minor crimes misdemeanors. In the United States a misdemeanor usually is an offense that may be punished summarily by fine and by imprisonment for less than a year. Commission of a misdemeanor does not cancel citizenship or subject an alienalien,
in law, any person residing in one political community while owing allegiance to another. A procedure known as naturalization permits aliens to become citizens.

Each nation establishes conditions upon which aliens will be admitted, and makes laws concerning them.
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 to deportation. In some states of the United States certain minor law violations are not even classified as misdemeanors, e.g., traffic offenses and breach of municipal regulations.


(US), misdemeanor
Criminal law (formerly) an offence generally less heinous than a felony and which until 1967 involved a different form of trial
References in periodicals archive ?
He says HBCUs should address issues like misdemeanors and more serious offenses "because of the historic mission of HBCUs" and family histories of many students attending the institutions.
Henry Scholten, 21, of Healdsburg, was appearing before Commissioner Stephany Joy in Santa Rosa Tuesday on misdemeanor charges when he allegedly tried to attack the judge after being ordered to jail for violating his probation.
City Hall critics took satisfaction in the convictions as a possible step toward cleaning up corruption, but insiders said Cooley's decision to settle for misdemeanor convictions on what had been felony charges was an admission of the weakness of the case.
A misdemeanor detainee in a local correctional facility sued a county and various individuals, challenging the policy of requiring strip searches of all detainees regardless of the nature of the crime for which they were detained.
Of the 48,099 inmates given early releases since March 2003, 21,653 were arrested for felonies and 26,446 were arrested for misdemeanors.
And despite earlier pledges that the Chatsworth Courthouse would be limited to misdemeanor, traffic, civil and small-claims proceedings, felony cases were being heard in three of the 10 courtrooms.
And from July 1 through Tuesday, 227 people arrested on nonviolent misdemeanor offenses, with bail set at $25,000 or less, were booked into jail and released on their own recognizance.
Although misdemeanors are considered lesser crimes that conjure visions of your neighbor's barking dog or of spitting on the sidewalk, many misdemeanors are substantially graver in nature.
After promising to appear in court, the inmates were released on charges of nonviolent misdemeanors, such as drug possession, being under the influence of drugs, public drunkenness, vandalism, trespassing, driving with a suspended license and some other vehicle code violations.
These are low-grade misdemeanors,'' Assistant Sheriff Dennis Dahlman said.
Her case followed a pledge from county supervisors last month - and in years past - to limit Chatsworth Courthouse cases to misdemeanor, traffic, civil and small-claims proceedings.