Compounding a felony was an offence under the common law of England and was classified as a misdemeanour. It consisted of a prosecutor or victim of an offence accepting anything of value under an agreement not to prosecute, or to hamper the prosecution of, a felony. The word "compound," in this context, means to come to a settlement or agreement. It is not compounding for the victim to accept an offer to return of stolen property or restitution as long as there is no agreement not to prosecute.
Under the common law, compounding a felony was punishable as a misdemeanor although many states have enacted statutes that punish the offense as a felony. Compounding a misdemeanor is not a crime. However, an agreement not to prosecute a misdemeanor is unenforceable as being contrary to public policy.