The difference between Felony, Misdemeanor, Tort and Paternalism


The topic presents various crimes and the offences which they commit. It also presents some definitional differences of these crimes as well as the offences under each of them. This includes felony, misdemeanour, Tort and Paternalism.

The difference between Felony, Misdemeanor, Tort and Paternalism


What is a Felony?

Felonies are the most serious classification of crimes, punishable by incarceration of more than a year in prison and in some cases life in prison without parole and even execution. Both property crimes and person crimes can be felonies.


They include:

  • Rape
  • Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery, and
  • Grand theft such as burglary, looting, shoplifting, embezzlement, fraud and criminal conversation


What is a Misdemeanor?

Misdemeanours are crimes that do not rise to the severity of a felony. They are lesser crimes for which the maximum sentence is 12 months or less in jail. The distinction between misdemeanours and felonies lies within the seriousness of the crime. Aggravated assault (beating someone with a baseball bat, for example) is a felony, while simple battery (slapping someone in the face) is a misdemeanour.


They include:

  • Slapping someone on the face (simple assault)
  • Possession of an ounce of marijuana
  • Driving under an Influence
  • Prostitution
  • Disorderly conduct like fighting


What is Tort?

A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a civil wrong that unfairly causes someone else to suffer loss or harm resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act, called a tortfeasor. Tort includes intentional tort, property tort, dignitary tort, Economic Tort.


They include:

Intentional Tort

  • Assault
  • False Imprisonment
  • Intentional Affliction of Emotional Distress

Property Tort

  • Trespass (Land and Chattels)
  • Conversion
  • Detinue

Signatory Tort

  • Defamation
  • Beach of Confidence
  • Seduction

Economic Tort

  • Conspiracy
  • Fraud
  • Tortious Interference


What is Paternalism?

Paternalism (or parental) is behaviour, by a person, organization or state, which limits some person or group’s liberty or autonomy for that person’s or groups own good. Paternalism can also imply that the behaviour is against or regardless of the will of a person, or also that the behaviour expresses an attitude of superiority.


They Include

  • Parent forbade their children from engaging in dangerous activities
  • Psychiatrist confiscating sharp object from someone who is suicidally depressed
  • The use of motorcycle helmets
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