Requirement that the Person be a 'Public Servant'
Official Misconduct is a Crime that can only be committed by a 'Public Servant' or an accomplice to a 'Public Servant'. The definition of 'Public Servant' under N.J. Statute 2C:30-2 has been broadly defined and includes any public officer or employee, including legislators, judges, advisors, consultants, and jurors, as well as non-governmental workers who are performing a 'government function'.
Requirement of an 'Unauthorized Act' Relating to Public Office
This type of crime requires that the State prove that there was an 'Unauthorized Act' relating to the office held by the 'public servant'. Among other situations, this can include a police officer using excessive force to arrest; a clerk of a public board improperly altering a public record; and, a member of public board misusing their authority to improperly grant a municipal license. This type of crime does not apply to a public servant who commits a private wrong, who merely happens to be a public servant. The act must be related to the public office held by the person being charged.
Requirement of a 'Benefit' Received by the 'Public Servant'
The N.J Official Misconduct Statute imposes a requirement that the actions of the 'Public Servant' be accompanied by the servant receiving a benefit for themselves or another person; which actions were intended to injure another person; or, which were intended to deprive another person of a benefit. The 'Benefit' has been interpreted to include any gain or advantage to the 'Servant', or any loss of such benefit to some other person. In addition the State must prove that the act of the 'Public Servant' was unauthorized, and that the 'servant' knew it was unauthorized. This is a critical defense-related issue that you should discuss with your lawyer, if you are charged with 'Official Misconduct'.
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Defending Public Officials in All Lines of Work
We have successfully defended clients charged with Official Misconduct throughout New Jersey. These are serious charges, which can result not only in a lengthy prison term, but also the loss of employment and public office; and if you are a professional - such as an accountant, lawyer, doctor or pharmacist, you could also be faced with irreparable damage to your career and the loss of your professional license.