Official Misconduct Lawyers in Passaic County NJ
While it may not sound like something serious, an official misconduct conviction carries significant penalties. One explanation for the tendency to downplay this offense is often the result of what constitutes “official” misconduct under N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2. But the law defines this term somewhat broadly to include any officer or employee of government including legislators and judges as well as any person participating as a juror, advisor, consultant or otherwise, in performing a government function. If someone engages in misconduct in his or her official capacity, they are exposed to the second degree crime of official misconduct and a jail term that can reach ten (10) years. The following is a summary of New Jersey Law with respect to the violation of Official Misconduct. If you have been charged with this offense in Passaic County, in towns like Little Falls, Paterson, Passaic City, Wayne, Clifton or Woodland Park and have not retained an attorney, please feel free to give us a call for a free consultation at 862-203-4070.
How Does the State Prove Official Misconduct in NJ?
N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2(a) and N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2(b) set out two ways in which the State may convict an individual for official misconduct. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2(a), the State must demonstrate the following elements to obtain a conviction for official misconduct:
- That the defendant was a public servant;
- That the defendant acted with a purpose to gain a benefit for himself or another or to injure or deprive another of a benefit;
- That the public servant committed an act relating to his office;
- That the act was be unauthorized, or it was performed in an unauthorized manner; and
- That the defendant knew that the act was unauthorized or was performed in an unauthorized manner.
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2(b), the elements the prosecutor must establish are:
- That the defendant is a public servant;
- That defendant had a purpose to obtain a benefit for himself or another or to injure or to deprive another of a benefit;
- That the defendant refrained from performing a duty;
- That the duty was imposed upon the public servant by law or was clearly inherent in the nature of his office; and
- That defendant knew that the duty was imposed upon him by law or knew that it was inherent in the nature of his office.
There is a seven (7) year statute of limitations for official misconduct.
What is the Degree of an Offense for Official Misconduct?
Official misconduct is a crime of the second degree. The crime is, however, reduced to a third degree if the benefit obtained, sought to be obtained, or that which another was deprived, is two hundred (200) dollars or less. Notwithstanding, if the purpose of the defendant was to injure another, it is always a crime of second degree no matter how slight the injury. If the official misconduct involves a benefit which is not pecuniary or not subject to pecuniary measurement, the offense is a crime of the second degree. An example is an election official who purposely permits an ineligible person to vote in an election.
Penalties for Official Misconduct in Passaic County NJ?
If convicted of official misconduct in the second degree, the defendant will face between five (5) and ten (10) years in jail, as well as a $150,000 fine. Second degree official misconduct carries a presumption of incarceration, meaning that there is extremely high probability of a state prison term if convicted. Third degree official misconduct carries penalties that are less severe but this still is a felony. The jail term is three (3) to five (5) years and the maximum fine is $15,000. Official misconduct in the third degree is also eligible for the Pretrial Intervention Program.