Black's Law Dictionary Definition

Offenses lower than felonies and generally those punishable by fine, penalty, forfeiture or imprisonment otherwise than in a penitentiary. Under federal law and most state laws, any offense other than a felony is classified as a misdemeanor.


A misdemeanor is a lesser criminal act, and usually punished less than a felony which is a more serious criminal act. The more serious crimes, felonies, can be separated into Class A, B, C, or D. As well as misdemeanors can be separated (based on the severity) into Class A, B, C and infractions.

Fines for misdemeanors and infractions

560.016. 1. Except as otherwise provided for an offense outside this code, a person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor or infraction may be sentenced to pay a fine which does not exceed:

  1. For a class C, D, or E felony, $10,000;
  2. For a class A misdemeanor, $2,000;
  3. For a class B misdemeanor, $1,000;
  4. For a class C misdemeanor, $750;
  5. For a class D misdemeanor, $500;
  6. For an infraction, $400; or
  7. If the person has gained money or property through the commission of the offense, to pay an amount, fixed by the court, not exceeding double the amount of the person's gain from the commission of the offense.

2. In lieu of a fine imposed under subsection 1, a person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor or infraction through which he derived "gain" as defined in section 560.011, may be sentenced to a fine which does not exceed double the amount of gain from the commission of the offense. An individual offender may be fined not more than twenty thousand dollars under this provision.

(L. 1977 S.B. 60)

Effective 1-1-79

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The material provided is intended for informational purpose only. It is not to be considered legal advice and not to be construed as legal representation.