felony and misdemeanour

felony and misdemeanour

In Anglo-American law, two categories of criminal offense. A crime is classed as one or the other according to its seriousness. In U.S. law, a felony is typically defined as a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than one year. Misdemeanours are often defined as offenses punishable only by fines or by short terms of imprisonment in local jails. Crimes in Britain are classified into indictable offenses (which may be tried by a jury) and summary offenses (which may be tried by a judge without juries). Codes in Europe also distinguish offenses of greater dangerousness from lesser crimes.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on felony and misdemeanour, visit Britannica.com.

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