Misdemeanors refer to less considerable kinds of criminal acts that are recognized and punishable by typical legal or lawful systems across the globe. However and still, the definitions or extremes of the actions that are considered as misdemeanors would essentially vary based on your locality or your country.
Particularly, such definitions are dictated by the provisions or the circumstances provided through laws that circulate within your area.
Drawing the Line between Misdemeanors, Felonies and other Criminal Behaviors
In the United States of America (USA), acts that are indictable through imprisonment for no less than a year are considered to be a misdemeanor. As such, any kind of criminal act or behavior that is not sanctioned through the aforementioned manner would be alternatively recognized as an act of felony—unless the prevailing laws in your state provides a different or a special category for a particular criminal act.
However, other countries or legal systems do not conform to the traditional categorization which delineates criminal acts between misdemeanors and felonies. For instance, countries such as Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom divide acts between indictable offenses and summary offenses instead.
Classes of Misdemeanors
Misdemeanors could be generally distinguished through classes. These so-called classes are usually defined through the extremes or the effects of particular misdemeanors to the society.
Consequently, classes are punishable within certain frames. These frames also vary depending on the prevailing law in your country, state, district, or region.
In the USA, the national government rather classifies misdemeanors into five classes.
Class 4 — refers to acts that are sanctioned with a fine of upto $500 and/or incarceration of not more than thirty days.
Unclassified — refers to acts that are punishable through means other than those that are provided through the other classes. Legal authorities often use this classification in special kinds of cases.
The aforementioned classification may however vary with the prevailing laws that govern certain states. For instance, New York uses an alphabetic classification that comes with other forms of sanctions. This case could also be apparent into other states in the United States or other legal systems outside the country.
As with other strands of the legal systems, the classification could also be amended or revised. As such, it shall be remembered to take into consideration the changes that could have occurred across time. Consulting your legal adviser when it comes to this matter would be more than helpful.
Typical Forms of Misdemeanors
Generally, misdemeanors could come in a multitude of forms and shapes. The number or kinds of possible cases are however indistinguishable, mainly because of two reasons: common law systems often provide generalized or all-encompassing classifications of misdemeanors; and these law systems may always be subjected to amendments or revisions.
Some of the most common shapes of misdemeanors are listed as follows:
Petty Theft — refers to the unofficial acquisition of the property of a person or a group of individuals. It could be accompanied with a so-called mens rea (a guilty mind) and an aim to permanently eradicate the right of an owner to his or her property or possession.
Prostitution — pertains to the practice of offering sexual or sexually-related kind of services in exchange of money or any form of wealth. Sanctions often cover all of the people who are involved in the act—including even the patrons or clients of the sexual services.
Public Intoxication — simply refers to the public and unwarranted display of drunkenness. Some countries classify this act as a summary offense rather than a misdemeanor. Some administrative units define the offense through ordinances or locally or regionally crafted laws.
Trespassing — refers to the unwarranted intrusion, modification or interruption of an individual or to a property of an individual. Particularly, trespass or trespassing is often categorized into three forms trespass to a land, to chattels and to persons. Some countries already have provisions against the intrusion of digital and online properties.