Edison Official Misconduct Defense Lawyers
Defending those Accused of Official Misconduct in Middlesex County NJ
Official Misconduct is a serious crime in New Jersey. As such, anyone convicted after having been accused of this criminal offense can be jailed for up to ten years and fined as much as $150,000. The State of New Jersey has a vested interest in ensuring that public officials act within the confines of the law and do not do anything to thwart the function of the government. In keeping with this intention, they will do anything and everything in their power to punish you to the fullest extent of the law if they believe you committed an act of misconduct while working in a government-related role. If you have been charged with an act or multiple acts of official misconduct in Middlesex County, you must take the matter seriously. These allegations have the potential to mar your reputation, lead to the loss of your job, and even land you in prison. At Proetta & Oliver, our experienced criminal defense lawyers will work tirelessly to have your official misconduct charges dismissed and clear your good name. We often defend clients arrested on criminal charges in Edison, New Brunswick, Woodbridge, Piscataway, and East Brunswick and have maintained a local presence in Middlesex County for years. Whether your specific case involves official misconduct allegations, theft by deception, credit card fraud, or related crimes, we can help. For a free consultation with an attorney dedicated to fighting for you, contact us today at (732) 659-9600.
What is Official Misconduct N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2?
First, official misconduct can only be committed by someone who is a “public servant.” The New Jersey Model Jury Charges require the State to prove that you were an “officer or employee” of any governmental branch or agency within the state or any “locality” within the state. This includes such public servants as judges, jurors, consultants, those employed by towns such as tax collectors etc., or any person performing a “governmental function.” After official misconduct is alleged and it has been established that you are a public servant, it must be proven that you, while performing your duties:
- Engaged in conduct that was unauthorized, knowing that it was unauthorized, or did not perform a duty that you knew were supposed to perform as part of your service as a public official and;
- The purpose in committing the unlawful act(s) or not doing something that you should have done was to benefit yourself or preclude another from benefiting from the same.
It can be confusing as to what constitutes official misconduct when you simply read the statutory language. It is often clearer when you see it or read it in an example.
What are some Examples of Official Misconduct in New Jersey?
Official misconduct happens on larger and smaller scales throughout the state. It can result in millions in losses to localities or no monetary loss at all. For example, a police officer is a public official. He works for the government and is tasked with certain responsibilities. If he accepts a financial bribe to not charge someone with a crime even if he knows happened, he can be charged with official misconduct because: 1) he did something to benefit himself (took money) and 2) he failed to do something that he should have done (arrest the person). The officer can also commit official misconduct by lying on the stand while testifying in a case. This is because he has an obligation to tell the truth. Not only is perjury illegal, this also represents official misconduct, as he is falling to act in performance of his duties and the detriment is to another person (the defendant).
Similarly, a tax collector from an individual town is charged with the responsibility of collecting money from taxpayers and depositing into the town’s account. If she takes that money for herself, she commits official misconduct. On a larger scale, if the mayor of a major city takes a bribe to allow a deal to go through for a governmental contract and she fails to adhere to the public bidding process, she commits official misconduct. On a lesser known scale, a juror can commit misconduct if he or she fails to abide by the judge’s instructions in being a juror and fails to act with impartiality, obtaining a benefit. For instance, a juror is guilty of misconduct if he or she finds someone not-guilty in exchange for cash or some other benefit.
What can I be Sentenced to for Official Misconduct in NJ?
If it is proven that you are guilty of official misconduct, you can be sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Under most circumstances, official misconduct is a second degree indictable crime. If you fail to do something that ought to be done in your official capacity, or you receive a benefit not intended by your employment, a jail term of 5-10 years can be imposed. Crimes of the second degree force the judge’s hand, directing him or her to sentence you to jail for no less than 5 years, even without a criminal record. The judge has it in his or her authority to further impose a lofty fine, meaning you could be facing payment in the amount of $150,000 to the state.
On the other hand, if you are charged with third degree official misconduct, the jail term can be less. If it can be established that the only benefit derived from the conduct was less than $200, you will be charged with a third degree offense and face 3-5 years in prison. A fine of $15,000 can be imposed as well. Notably, a third degree charge works to your advantage in several ways, as there is a presumption against incarceration if this is your first offense and you do not have an existing criminal record.
Facing Official Misconduct Charges New Brunswick NJ Need Attorney
Sometimes, the accused is charged with official misconduct as part of a mistake or cover-up by another person. As dedicated criminal defense lawyers, we know what to look for to uncover the truth. In some circumstances this can be achieved through forensic accounting, while in others, there may be video or other proof exonerating you. There are many different facts playing into official misconduct charges in Middlesex County, NJ. We carefully examine the facts against the elements of the offense, as we fight tooth and nail to assist in your case and to get the best possible result. No matter what gave rise to your official misconduct charges in South Brunswick, Old Bridge, Dunellen, Metuchen, Carteret, or nearby towns in New Jersey, we will not give up and neither should you. Call our local Edison office at (732) 659-9600 to discuss your matter at no cost now.