An offense is a legal phrase that refers to actions or omissions that are illegal and punishable under the law. Offense, criminal offense, and crime are all phrases that are sometimes used interchangeably. The most serious offenses are felonies, and the least serious are misdemeanors. Offenses involving a violation of federal law are prosecuted in United States District Courts. A person convicted of a federal or state offense could be sentenced to probation, fines, jail, or prison.
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