New Jersey Official Misconduct Attorneys
Official Misconduct (2C:30-2) is one of the toughest white collar crimes in New Jersey. It often ensnares public officials who are otherwise law biding citizens who made a mistake. While the predicate offenses they are accused of may not call for prison time, this crime operates to elevate a less serious crime to a much more serious one. Thus, it is the not crime that makes it serious, but the position of the person who is committing the crime. For example, in State v. Quezada, 402 N.J. Super. 277 (App. Div. 2008) the defendant was accused of setting false fire alarms, a third degree offense. Normally, he would not be looking at any prison time if he was a first degree offender. However, because of his position of a fireman, he was charged with official misconduct. As a result, he was sentenced to eight years in prison on the official misconduct charges.
This case is important because the defendant was a volunteer fireman and yet, the court held that the statute applied to him. As a result, paid and unpaid state employees from fireman, policeman, politicians and employees of any government agency can be charged with this offense. If you are even suspected of this or any offense, call us now to discuss your case with one of our aggressive attorneys!
Pattern of Official Misconduct
Closely related to the crime of Official Misconduct with the crime of Pattern of Official Misconduct (2C:30-7). This crime is very tough as well because a conviction does not merge with a conviction for Official Misconduct or any other offense. Thus, a defendant who is convicted of both offenses will receive separate sentences thus lengthening the prison term. Again, there are almost no breaks given for a first offender.
As previously indicated, defendants charged with these crimes are looking at prison if convicted. Instead of “flat” sentences, the defendant will be looking at a mandatory period of parole ineligibility if they are or were “a public officer or employee under the government of this State, or any political subdivision thereof”. As if the prison term was worse enough, there are several other penalties that hit these defendants hard if convicted. The defendant is also looking at a forfeiture of their public office in addition to a forfeiture of their pension.
As you can see, Official Misconduct is one of the most serious non-violent offenses that one can be charged with in New Jersey. If convicted, your life and career may be more or less over. When your life is on the line, get the team of tough, smart attorneys on your side to fight for you!
§ 2C:30-2. Official misconduct
A public servant is guilty of official misconduct when, with purpose to obtain a benefit for himself or another or to injure or to deprive another of a benefit:
a. He commits an act relating to his office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official functions, knowing that such act is unauthorized or he is committing such act in an unauthorized manner; or
b. He knowingly refrains from performing a duty which is imposed upon him by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of his office.
Official misconduct is a crime of the second degree. If the benefit obtained or sought to be obtained, or of which another is deprived or sought to be deprived, is of a value of $ 200.00 or less, the offense of official misconduct is a crime of the third degree.
§ 2C:30-7. Crime of pattern of official misconduct
a. A person commits the crime of pattern of official misconduct if he commits two or more acts that violate the provisions of N.J.S. 2C:30-2 or section 2 of P.L. 2003, c. 31 (C. 2C:30-6). It shall not be a defense that the violations were not part of a common plan or scheme, or did not have similar methods of commission.
b. Pattern of official misconduct is a crime of the second degree if one of the acts committed by the defendant is a first or second degree crime; otherwise, it is a crime of the third degree, provided, however, that the presumption of nonimprisonment set forth in subsection e. of N.J.S. 2C:44-1 for persons who have not previously been convicted of an offense shall not apply. Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S. 2C:1-8 or any other law, a conviction of pattern of official misconduct shall not merge with a conviction of official misconduct, official deprivation of civil rights, or any other criminal offense, nor shall such other conviction merge with a conviction under this section, and the court shall impose separate sentences upon each violation of N.J.S. 2C:30-2 and sections 2 and 3 of P.L. 2003, c. 31 (C. 2C:30-6 and C. 2C:30-7).
§ 2C:43-6.5. Mandatory minimum prison term for public officer
a. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6 and except as otherwise provided in subsection c. of this section, a person who serves or has served as a public officer or employee under the government of this State, or any political subdivision thereof, who is convicted of a crime that involves or touches such office or employment as set forth in subsection b. of this section, shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment without eligibility for parole as follows: for a crime of the fourth degree, the mandatory minimum term shall be one year; for a crime of the third degree, two years; for a crime of the second degree, five years; and for a crime of the first degree, 10 years; unless the provisions of any other law provide for a higher mandatory minimum term. As used in this subsection, “a crime that involves or touches such office or employment” means that the crime was related directly to the person’s performance in, or circumstances flowing from, the specific public office or employment held by the person.