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What Is the Law on Abuse of Authority In Arkansas And What Are the Punishments for It?

Abuse of Authority occurs when a person who consents to leverage the power granted to him to his benefit or for the benefit of his relatives. Abuse of power also happens when an influential person takes advantage of his power against someone. The someone may be an employee, subordinate, dependent or a third party. The laws on abuse of authority in Arkansas and the punishments are as under.

Criminal Laws

Any Abuse of Authority is a criminal act in the State of Arkansas and includes the following.

  • Abuse of public trust is committed when a person solicits, agrees or accepts to agree to any benefit from another person upon an understanding or an agreement to appoint the other person as a public servant or a candidate for public office.

If the value of the benefit is

  • at or over $25,000, it is a class B felony
  • between $5,000 - $25,000, it is a Class C felony
  • less than $5,000, it is a Class D felony
  • Soliciting unlawful compensation happens when a person requests a benefit for the performance of his or her duties as a public servant. It is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • Attempt to influence a public servant is a Class A misdemeanor. It happens when a person threatens violence or economic revenge against any person, uses deceit with the purpose of altering a public servant's decision, opinion, action, or vote on matters that are to be performed by the public servant.
Abuse of Authority Laws Arkansas
  • Misuse of confidential information is performed by a public servant who misuses confidential information he or she has access to and which has not been made public. It is a Class A Misdemeanor.
  • Abuse of office happens when a public servant commits an unauthorized act with the purpose of benefiting himself or herself or a relative, or with the purpose of harming another person knowingly. It is a Class B misdemeanor.
  • Compensation for speeches and appearances: Any public servant who solicits or accepts compensation for speeches or other appearances is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

Public Officers and Employees

A public servant who uses his or her authority to secure special privileges or exemptions for himself or herself or, for a person or first-degree relationship, or for the person he or she has a substantial financial relationship with, is considered an abuse of authority. It is considered a Class B misdemeanor and includes

Code of Ethics: It includes disclosure of information, seeking special privileges, use of information of personal gain, among others.

Disclosure by Lobbyists and State and Local Officials: It refers to an attempt by individuals or private interest groups to influence the decisions of local or state government.

Disclosure by Legislators: Failing to disclose any goods or services sold during the previous calendar year, in excess of one thousand dollars to any office or entity in which the public servant's relative owns more than 10% of the stock is considered an Abuse of Authority.

Abuse of Authority Laws Arkansas
Nepotism

When a public servant uses his or her authority to appoint, hire, promote, or advocate for the appointment of a relative, he or she has violated the Title 25, Chapter 16, subchapter 10 of the Code. Employment of a relative is prohibited

Punishment

Class A misdemeanor: Imprisonment of a maximum of one year, and a maximum fine of $2,500.

Class B misdemeanor: Imprisonment of a maximum of 90 days, and a maximum fine of $1,000.

Class B felony: Imprisonment of five to twenty years, and a maximum fine of $15,000.

Class C felony: Imprisonment of three to ten years, and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Class D felony: Imprisonment of a maximum of six years, and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Any public servant who has violated his or her authority is also forced to forfeit his or her office.


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