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WikiProject Law (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
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Already the second paragraph of the article is ludicrous: "Contraventions are similar to misdemeanors in many civil law countries (e.g. France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland etc.)."

In that grammatical structure, it is a nonsensical inversion, as misdemeanors is the Common Law term, so it would rather have to read: "In many Civil Law countries, contraventions are similar to what is called misdemeanors in Common Law."

But still, that would be plainly wrong, as the third paragraph of the Wikipedia article on felonies shows: "Similar to felonies in some civil law countries (Italy, etc.) are delicts, whereas in others (France, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland etc.) crimes (more serious) and delicts (less serious)." And as the Wikipedia entry on contraventions itself states: "a contravention is a non-criminal offense, similar to an infraction or civil penalty in common law countries."

Phrase should be deleted. I will do so. -- (talk) 05:28, 9 December 2012 (UTC)


Suggestion to mention the Lautenberg Amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968:

"The Lautenberg Amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968, effective 30 September 1996, makes it a felony for those convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms or ammunition. The Amendment also makes it a felony to transfer a firearm or ammunition to an individual known, or reasonably believed, to have such a conviction. Soldiers are not exempt from the Lautenberg Amendment."

"Army policy is that all soldiers known to have, or soldiers whom commanders have reasonable cause to believe have, a conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic are non-deployable for missions that require possession of firearms or ammunition. Soldiers affected by the Lautenberg Amendment are not eligible for overseas assignment." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Klk206 (talkcontribs) 21:35, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

  1. Laura Black (novelist), novelist who had novels turned into feature films and television series, Mother Love (TV series) and Passion Flower Hotel (film) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:51, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

This does not represent a worldwide view!! (talk) 17:12, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

What other common law jurisdictions?[edit]

The lead of the article states:

A misdemeanor, or a misdemeanour in many common law legal systems, is a "lesser" criminal act

It then proceeds to name *civil* law jurisdictions that also use the term, and name common law jurisdictiond that do *not* (anymore) use this term. But the US is the only example given of a common law system that still uses it. So, which common law jurisdiction still uses this term. If there are "many", it should be very easy to name some, besides the US. --Rob (talk) 20:05, 13 January 2011 (UTC)


70's tv shows? really? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:53, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

England/Wales "defendant"?[edit]

The wording of the England/Wales paragraph implies that the term "defendant" would not be applicable to one charged with a crime greater than a misdemeanor. Is this correct? (talk) 20:33, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Yes. A person charged with felony was called a "prisoner". This is also in the book by O Hood Phillips and in another book called Learning the Law by Glanville Williams. James500 (talk) 11:18, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Common Law[edit]

This article is supposed to be about common law, which is what the factbox says. Now either the fact box needs to be changed, or the stuff about Germany which isn't a common law country needs to be removed (perhaps moved to an article of its own). Jasonfward (talk) 00:09, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Removed this section on Germany since Germnay is not a common law country

A felony (Verbrechen) is defined as a crime that is punishable with at least one year of imprisonment.[1]

Misdemeanours (Vergehen) are all other crimes punishable by imprisonment of less than one year or by fine.[2]

However, in many cases a misdemeanour may be punished with imprisonment of more than one year, yet the crime itself remains considered a misdemeanour. Same applies for a milder version of a felony that is punishable with imprisonment less than a year.[3] The most severe sentence possible for a misdemeanour is ten years (for instance once-aggravated theft or child abuse).

An attempt to commit a felony crime is always punishable whilst an attempt to commit a misdemeanour is solely punishable if particularly prescribed by law.[4]

A plea bargain (Strafbefehl) is only applicable for misdemeanours, not for felonies.

Jasonfward (talk) 00:35, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

There is no such thing as a "factbox". The navbox at the top of the page, to which I think you probably mean to refer does not say that this article is about the common law. The words "part of the common law series" refer to the navbox itself, not the article. James500 (talk) 11:18, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

OK, right now the article is confusing, is it about the concept covered by the English word misdemeanour, or is it about the legal meaning of misdemeanour in common law countries? I have no particular opinion about which it should be, but the distinction is important and without the distinction the article seems wolly and unsure of itself. Jasonfward (talk) 21:43, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

It might be that "verbrechen" and "vergehen" require their own articles. It might even be that countries that have received this concept from the common law of England need their own articles if the definition of, and perhaps incidents to, misdemeanor, have been changed to a sufficient degree. Strictly, we are not supposed to put things on the same page just because they have the same name because we are not a dictionary. James500 (talk) 10:31, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

OK, you say "Strictly, we are not supposed to put things on the same page just because they have the same name", which I think is in broad agreement with my "the distinction is important" and "the article is confusing, is it about the concept covered by the English word misdemeanour, or is it about the legal meaning of misdemeanour in common law countries?"? Yes? No? If yes, can we decide? My preference is that is about the common law term and its legal meaning. Jasonfward (talk) 14:16, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Continued improvements[edit]

I have added some NY law. I see this article is improving continually. However, it still needs a lot more sources and filling in of other examples. Bearian (talk) 20:32, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ [1] "Verbrechen sind rechtswidrige Taten, die im Mindestmaß mit Freiheitsstrafe von einem Jahr oder darüber bedroht sind."
  2. ^ [2]"Vergehen sind rechtswidrige Taten, die im Mindestmaß mit einer geringeren Freiheitsstrafe oder die mit Geldstrafe bedroht sind."
  3. ^ [3]"Schärfungen oder Milderungen, die nach den Vorschriften des Allgemeinen Teils oder für besonders schwere oder minder schwere Fälle vorgesehen sind, bleiben für die Einteilung außer Betracht."
  4. ^ [4]"Der Versuch eines Verbrechens ist stets strafbar, der Versuch eines Vergehens nur dann, wenn das Gesetz es ausdrücklich bestimmt."