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Misdemeanors are more serious than petty offenses, but much less
serious than felonies. Misdemeanors typically result in 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.