топик Felony and Misdemeanour

Most legal systems find it necessary to divide into categories for various purposes connected with the procedure of the courts – determining , for instance, which kind of court may deal with which kind of offen с e. The common law originally divided crimes into two categories – felonies (the graver crimes, generally punishable with death, which resulted in forfeiture of the perpetrator’s land and goods to the crown) and misdemeanours (for which the common law provided fines or imprisonment).

There were many differences in the procedure of the courts according to whether the charge was felony or misdemeanour, and other matters that depended on the distinction included the power of the police to arrest a suspect on suspicion that he had committed an offense, since to arrest a suspect was generally permissible in felony, but not in misdemeanour. [Suspect is someone who is thought to be guilty of a crime]. By the early 19th century it had become clear that the growth of the law had rendered this classification obsolete and in many cases inconsistent with the gravity of the offenses concerned, for example, theft was a felony, irrespective of the amount stolen or obtaining by fraud was always a misdemeanour.

Efforts to abolish the distinction in English law did not succeed until 1967, when the distinction was replaced by that be tween arrestable offenses and other offenses. [Arrestable offenses are ones punishable with five years’ imprisonment or more]. The traditional classification between felony and misdemeanour has been retained in many U.S. jurisdictions and is used as the basis of determining the court that will hear the case.



common law – общее право

felony – фелония (категория тяжких преступлений, по степени опасности находящаяся между государственной изменой и мисдиминором)

forfeiture – конфискация

permissible – допустимый

gravity – тяжесть

jurisdiction – судебная практика

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