What Is the Law on Abuse of Authority in Montana and What Are the Punishments for It?
Abuse of Authority, also known as Malfeasance in office or "Official Misconduct", occurs when an individual wrongly exercises their power and post in a public office in order to wrongfully cause mischief or further their own agenda and the career of their loved ones.
If caught, the individual convicted of abuse of authority will in most cases have to leave the post. If the individual is an elected official, they are removed from their office through the means of a statute or a recall election.
Abuse of Authority in a public office can take place both internally among staff as well as externally. Some examples of abuse of authority are as follows:
- Bullying or harassing one's juniors, staff members, or co-workers.
- Requesting one's staff to do personal jobs during office hours, and then threatening or coercing them when they refuse to comply.
- Pressuring one's juniors. staff or co-workers to distort or cover up the truth.
Punishments for Abuse of Authority in Montana
In Montana, the punishment does not adhere to the crime; rather, the crime decides the penalty which will be faced by the convict. There are separate penalties for different types of crimes, all ranging according to the severity of the situation and the number of people involved in the act.
If the convict has been accused of committing crimes regularly in repeated succession, then the extent of the crime is also taken into account. The crimes relating to abuse of authority in the state of Montana and their punishments include the following:
- Giving and taking a bribe, or soliciting offers of some kind: punishable by a maximum prison time of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $50,000, and immediate expulsion. This includes not being able to hold office ever again, not being able to run for a post and a permanent blacklist from having any sort of position in a public office ever again.
- Threatening another individual in the office, and exerting improper influence in office affairs, especially where an individual has no jurisdiction. This crime is punishable by an optimum prison time of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $50,000, or both, depending on the situation and the position of the person that was involved.
- Using one's post or position in the office in order to carry out criminal tasks or conduct nefarious operations. Using one's office for any sort of criminal purposes is punishable by a maximum prison time of up to 6 months, a fine of up to $500, or both, depending on the severity of the crime and the post of the people involved.
- Official misconduct, that is, conducting oneself in a manner which is not conducive to the position of a public official. This includes behaving in an immature fashion in front of the public and the press, making snide remarks on another public figure, and trying to stir the public against someone.
- The punishment for official misconduct includes a maximum prison time of up to 6 months, a fine of up to $500 or both, depending on the position of the people involved and the incident which occurred.
- If any individual aims to further the career of a family member through nefarious means including buying or selling of a post, recommending someone, or giving preference to one's known associates over others. The punishment for violating the nepotism includes a maximum prison time of up to 6 months and a fine of any amount between $50 and $1000, depending on the extent of the crime.