What is the Law on 'Abuse of Authority' in Nevada and What are the Punishments for it?
Simply put, abuse of authority occurs when an individual abuses the power that is given to them by the state. Also termed as "malfeasance of office", this crime happens when a person starts to use their authority to harass or bully the people who work with them or under them, start using their power for nefarious means, and try to sway situations to their advantage using the powers of the office that they hold.
Punishment for Abuse of Authority in Nevada
In Nevada, there are stringent and well-defined punishments for any kind of violations which abuse the authority of a person. These punishments vary from simply paying a fine to facing jail time, and in some case, forfeiting the office and being expelled as well. The punishments for abuse of authority in Nevada include:
Class C Felonies
- A legislator who is involved in giving or taking a bribe or is involved in soliciting funds.
The punishment for a Class C felony includes a minimum prison time of 1 year and a maximum sentence of up to 5 years. In addition to this, a fine of $10,000 will also have to be levied by the individual who has been convicted.
Class D Felonies
- Illegally requesting an alteration or a change in a bill which is out of the jurisdiction of the requester.
- Illegally requesting the change or an alteration in a bill which has already been enrolled, and is outside the purview of the individual requesting the change.
The punishment for a Class D felony includes a minimum prison time of 1 year, a maximum prison time of up to 4 years, a fine which will have to be levied by the convict, amounting to no more than $5,000.
- Purposely interfering with the legislative process in order to sway a bill one way or another.
- A legislator, public official, or an employee of the government showing undue interest in any bill which is due for debate, or is showing a vested interest in any kind of legal contract.
- An individual trying to show an undue or vested interest in any kind of contract after leaving the office or giving up their position.
The penalty for a gross misdemeanor entails a maximum prison time of 364 days, a fine of $2,000, or both, depending on the crime that was committed.
Any public officer who has been convicted of convicting a crime or is caught abusing their authority in one way or another will have to immediately forfeit their office by means of expulsion and will be permanently disqualified from holding any kind of public office in the state.
In addition to being legally convicted, an individual accused of abusing their authority will also have to face trial in front of the Ethics Committee.
- If an individual is being put to trial for the first time, they will have to pay a fine of $5,000.
- If the same individual is brought to trial for the second time, but because of a different crime, they will have to pay a fine of $10,000.
- A third trial will make the individual in question pay a fine of $25,000.
If an officer or an employee of the ethics committee is trying to sway a case in one way or another, or is having undue and unwarranted interest in a case, then they will be fined a maximum amount of $5,000,and will have to face some disciplinary actions, which may even result in their permanent removal from office.