Misdemeanors are more serious than petty offenses, but much less serious than felonies. Misdemeanors typically result in the imposition of such punishments as a fine or a jail sentence not exceeding a year. If a jail sentence is imposed, it is served at a local, city or county jail rather than a state or federal prison (penitentiary).
In many jurisdictions and in certain types of cases defendants who can’t afford an attorney are not entitled to a court-appointed attorney in a misdemeanor case. Unlike felonies, misdemeanors are usually handled by special courts with abbreviated procedures, such as a city court or municipal court.