Official misconduct is one of the most serious white collar crimes in New Jersey. If you are facing charges for official misconduct in NJ, a great deal is at stake. Make sure to hire an experienced NJ criminal defense attorney who can help you avoid jail time and a conviction.
What is Official Misconduct?
Official misconduct is any improper or illegal act performed by a public official that violates his duty to act on behalf of the public good.
More specifically, under N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2, if you are a public servant, then you can be convicted of official misconduct when you commit an act relating to your office that constitutes an unauthorized exercise of your official function while knowing that the act was unauthorized or being done in an unauthorized way.
Additionally, in order to be convicted, a prosecutor must be able to prove that you did this with the purpose of obtaining a benefit for yourself or another person or to injure/deprive another person of a benefit. You might also be found guilty of official misconduct if you knowingly refrain from performing a duty that is imposed on you by law or clearly inherent in the nature of your office.
Proving Official Misconduct
Remember, the prosecution bears the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
For the purposes of this crime, the prosecutor must clearly show that:
- You were a public servant at the time you committed the alleged act
- You committed the alleged act
- You knew that the act was unauthorized, you acted in an unauthorized manner, you knowingly refrained from performing a duty imposed by law, or you knowingly refrained from performing a duty inherent to your position
- Your reason for acting was to benefit yourself or others or to hurt others
Ultimately, if the prosecutor fails to prove even just one of these, he cannot successfully convict you of official misconduct in New Jersey.
Penalties and Fines
If you are convicted of official misconduct, you could be guilty of either a second or third degree crime. If the value of what you obtained or sought to obtain was under $200, you could be guilty of a third degree crime. However, if the value exceeded $200, you could be guilty of a second degree crime.
Most importantly, since you are a public official, you will be required to serve jail time. In other words, for part of your sentence, you will be ineligible for parole (see N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.5). If you were convicted of official misconduct in the third degree, you will be required to serve at least 2 years behind bars. If you were convicted of official misconduct in the second degree, you will be required to serve at least 5 years.
Who Should I Contact?
If you or a loved was recently charged with official misconduct in NJ, contact Adam H. Rosenblum of Rosenblum Law today. Mr. Rosenblum is a skilled criminal defense attorney who has helped people in similar situations. He will defend your constitutional rights and do what he can to have your charges dismissed. E-mail or call him today at 888-815-3649.