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What is the Law on 'Abuse of Authority' in Michigan and What are the Punishments for it?

Abuse of authority includes any individual who misuses their power or position as a public official or an employee of the government. This misuse of power includes a number of crimes, such as taking money from other people in order to do some work for them, an individual shirking their duties as a public official, bullying or harassing their juniors, co-workers or members of their staff in order to make them do something they do not want to do, and coercing someone into keeping quiet about an illegal activity or making them partake in a crime.

Punishment for Abuse of Authority in Michigan

In Michigan, abuse of authority is not classified into a specific kind of crime, but rather, they are divided into general categories such as bribery, exerting their influence on their juniors, co-workers, and other staff members. Crimes and punishments for abuse of authority in the state of Michigan include the following:

Felonies

  • Giving and offering a bribe, in order to make an individual work for oneself, to stop them from doing their duties, or in order to ensure that there is some sort of disruption in the office.
  • Embezzling funds, whether it be from the official accounts of the company, the public funds, or taking money from people for purposes of a charity and then forging the accounts.

Felonies are all punishable by a maximum prison time of 10 years, a fine of $5000, or both, depending on the crime. In addition to this, the individual can also be subject to a forcible forfeiting of their office, immediate expulsion, as well as a permanent disqualification from holding and running for any sort of public office in the future.

Abuse of Authority Laws Michigan

Misdemeanors

  • Extorting money from any individual, no matter the context or the amount of money acquired.
  • Having a doubtful or increased in any public matter, especially if it does not concern the individual directly. This also includes asking for continuous updates and developments about a project that does not involve the individual in any manner.
  • Purposely neglecting or shirking one's duty as a public official, negating the urgency or importance of the situation at hand.

Punishments for a public official who has been accused of committing a misdemeanor includes a maximum prison time of 1 year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both, depending on the crime that was committed.

 Abuse of Authority Laws

Conflict of Interest

A situation violating an individual's sense of what they should do, with regards to protecting oneself or their family and doing the duty that is prescribed from them is described as having a conflict of interest. In such situations, If an individual made a decision which goes against the public interest of fulfilling the duty required of them, there is voting in the legislature. The individual is convicted or is declared innocent depending on the outcome of 2/3 votes.

Moreover, if an individual tries to take revenge on another for reporting the conflict of interest, they can be fined a maximum amount of $500.

Miscellaneous Crimes

Any crime that is committed by an individual while in a public office and cannot be categorized into any specific category, is then termed as a felony. However, these carry less punishments, as the convict is thus sentenced to a maximum prison time of up to 4 years, a fine of no more than $5000, or both, depending on the extent of the crime that was committed, the number of people who were involved in the crime, and the seriousness of the crime that was committed.


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