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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 ?
12/05: Cody Riley, 26, of Muddy, pleaded guilty to battery, a Class A misdemeanor on Feb.
Over the last two decades, however, the American criminal justice system has experienced a significant expansion in the number and severity of penalties triggered by misdemeanor convictions.
Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, no longer formally stands accused of felony ambulance chasing after the Montgomery County District Attorney's office dropped those charges and refiled the allegations as misdemeanors.
This Article presents a systematic study of misdemeanor justice in
Prosecutors will continue to file misdemeanor charges when they are part of a felony case.
Scholten now faces two felony charges and three misdemeanors.
Travis Gordon, 36, of Percy, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor.
Doherty argued that the introduction of his confession into evidence in federal court violated his Sixth Amendment right to counsel because he had already been arraigned for a statutory rape misdemeanor tribal charge, arising from the same facts as the federal charges, and had requested an attorney at his own expense in accordance with the ICRA.
11/15: James Thurman, 52, of Gorham, pleaded guilty to criminal damage to property, a Class A misdemeanor.