A misdemeanor is a minor offence. It has two basic applications as an expression:
- A non-criminal offence at law. This is a trivial breach of law, or an action which isn't a crime by statute. These offenses are usually penalized by fines or in some cases community service.
- Breaking the rules of an organization
An organization may establish binding rules on its members, offenses against which are classed as misdemeanors, or demerits. These acts have no legal status as such, but may be used by the organization within its rules for penalties.
In grammatical usage, a misdemeanor is a general negative classification of behavior.