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What Is the Law on Abuse of Authority in New Jersey and What Are the Punishments for it?

Abuse of Authority occurs when an individual begins to misuse their post or position and begins to harass, bully, coerce, or threaten their juniors and co-workers into working for them and committing actions that they would not generally agree to.

Punishment for Abuse of Authority in New Jersey

Abuse of authority holds quite stringent punishments for public officials in the state of New Jersey. The crimes and their punishments include the following:

First Degree Crimes

  • The corruption or illegally trading in public offices and other such resources, if the value of the activity amounts to $500,000 or more, and the individual has promised to provide a public favor in return.

A first-degree crime is punishable by a prison time from a minimum of 10 years, up to 20 years. In addition to this, The convict may also have to pay a fine of a maximum of $200,000.

Second Degree Crimes

  • A continuous pattern of official misconduct being conducted by the individual in question, especially if one of the crimes have been a first degree or a second-degree felony.
  • Speculating, betting, on placing wagers on any official action or information, for any action where the best placed amounts to $200 or more.
Abuse of Authority Laws New Jersey
  • Official misconduct of any kind, especially in a situation where the amount involved amount to $200 or more.
  • The corruption or illegally trading in public offices and other such resources, when their value is between $75,000 and $500,000, and the individual has promised to deliver a public favor in return.
  • Offering a bribe or trying to solicit any unlawful benefit to a state official or an employee of the government. with any amount over $200.
  • Giving or taking a bribe as a public official, where the amount is more than $200.

A second-degree felony is punishable by a prison time from 5 to 10 years, a fine of $150,000, or both, depending on the crime that was committed.

Abuse of Authority Laws New Jersey
Third Degree Crimes

  • An individual having a pattern of official misconduct, but they have not committed any crime amounting to a first or second-degree felony.
  • Speculating, betting, or placing a wager on official action, where the benefit that the individual gets amounts to less than $200.
  • Any activity falling under official misconduct, where the benefit accrued to the individual is $200 or less.
  • The corruption or illegally trading in public offices and other such resources, when their value is any amount below $75,000 and the individual has promised to deliver a public favor in return.
  • Bribing or proving an unlawful benefit to any state official or an employee of the government, for any amount under $200.
  • Illegal interference in official and political matters, especially if it does not fall in the individual's jurisdiction.

The punishment for a third-degree crime amounts to prison time between 3 to 5 years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both, depending on the extent of the crime that was committed.

Fourth Degree Crimes

  • A public official or an employee of the state conducting business transactions with people who are off-limits for them, including their friends, family members, and other associates.
  • The corruption or illegally trading in public offices and other such resources, when their value is below $75,000, but the individual has not promised to deliver a public favor in return.
  • Taking revenge for or retaliating against any past official action that occurred.

A Fourth Degree Felony is punishable by a maximum prison time of up to 18 months, a fine of $10,000, or both depending on the extent of the crime.


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