New Jersey Official Misconduct Law
We represent clients charged with N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2; New Jersey Official Misconduct complaints and indictments filed in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Somerset County, Essex County, Union County, and Hudson County.
Under New Jersey Official Misconduct law, only a public servant can be guilty of misconduct in office.
A public servant includes 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, but does not include a witness.
The test is whether the person is performing a government function.
A public servant may be convicted of official misconduct even if at the time of the offense he or she had been suspended from active duty.
A person may be guilty of the crime of official misconduct as an accomplice even though that person is not a public servant.
Under New Jersey Official Misconduct law the public servant's action or omission must be coupled with a purpose to obtain a benefit for himself or another or a purpose to injure another or deprive another of a benefit.
Corrupt purpose can be of two types.
First, defendant's purpose is to obtain a benefit for her or another.
Second, public servant seeks to injure some person or deprive them of a gain or advantage - by being denied or impeded in the exercise of some right or privilege.
There must be proof that the public servant's act was unauthorized or committed in an unauthorized manner.
Also, there must be proof that the public servant knew that the act was unauthorized or knew that she acted in an unauthorized manner.
This law does not extend to purely private wrongdoing by one who happens to be a public servant.
Hence, under New Jersey Official Misconduct law the state must prove the following five elements:
First, defendant was a public servant.
Second, defendant acted with purpose to gain a benefit or to injure or deprive another of a benefit.
Third, the act committed related to the public servant's office.
Fourth, the act must be unauthorized.
Fifth, defendant knew that the act was unauthorized.
If defendant did not know that the act was unauthorized ignorance may very well serve as a viable defense.
Official misconduct is also committed by a public servant who knowingly refrains from performing a duty which is imposed upon him by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of his office.
Severe drug addiction and alcoholism are not a defense to a charge of misconduct in office by a police officer.
There is a seven year statute of limitation for an official misconduct prosecution.
Official misconduct is a crime of the second degree, however, it may be reduced to third degree if the benefit obtained or sought or of which another is deprived is of a value of $200.00 or less.
If the purpose is to injure another it will be a crime of the second degree no matter how slight the injury.
If you have any questions for a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer about a New Jersey Official Misconduct charge, please do not hesitate to contact us.