I just looked at the thread Al Norris linked to:
"Try a conviction of common law battery that carried only a small fine, until years later the State changed the sentence to an indeterminate sentencing of up to 3 years. See Schrader v. Holder for that one. "
I wish I had the link, but a loooooong time ago, I was reading an Alabama case that discussed the appropriate sentence for a particular misdemeanor.
In Alabama, misdemeanors usually have a class A, B, or C, which indicates the maximum penalty.
I don't remember what the outlawed behavior was, but for simplicity, let's just say it was throwing sharp items in a roadway The statute in question said: (hypothetically)
Anyone who shall intentionally place or caused to be placed sharp items in the roadways shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
The holding was rather simple. Even though it didn't follow the usual format, the word "misdemeanor" has a clear definition of "a crime that has a penalty of confinement of one year or less."
There was another case that was somewhat similar. The crime didn't follow the usual pattern for felonies, which also has class A, B, or C.
The crime said (I think) that anyone convicted shall be imprisoned for not more than two years. Using the same basic reasoning, the court said that two years is longer than the year-and-a-day definition of a felony, so the crime was therefore a felony.