What Are Some Examples of Minor Crimes?

Minor crimes in the United States include traffic offenses that do not involve any damage or injury, littering, possession of very small amounts of illegal drugs with no intent to sell, fishing or hunting without a license, jaywalking, or riding public transportation without paying a fare. In the United States, crimes considered relatively less serious are called misdemeanors or infractions and carry lower penalties than more serious felony crimes.

Actions that are considered to be minor crimes may vary greatly between countries, cultures and even individual states. Some crimes are nearly universally considered to be petty infractions that are punished only with warnings or small fines.

In the United States, crimes formally classified as infractions almost always are punished with a relatively small fines and no incarceration. Misdemeanor crimes may carry a period of incarceration, but this is often dependent on past criminal history and whether there are repeat offenses.

In democratic societies, the distinction between a felony and more minor types of crime usually involves bodily harm, the threat of bodily harm or the theft or loss of very large amounts of money. In more authoritarian societies, anti-government speech or activities may be treated much more harshly than they are in democratic societies.