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What is the Law on Abuse of Authority in New York and What are the Punishments for It?

Abuse of authority is a crime where a person who holds a position of power, misuses that position to obtain benefits either for themselves or others at the detriment of the State and the people of the State. In New York, such a crime could lead to incarceration, substantial fines, civil penalties and permanent disqualification from either office or employment.

What Constitutes as Abuse of Authority in the State of New York?

Anyone that is found guilty of abusing the power vested upon them in favor of committing illegal actions is guilty of this crime. Examples of what are considered as misusing power while in authority include using public funds for personal matters, accepting bribes, using confidential information secured in office for personal gain and more.

Any action that is deemed as an ethical violation is considered an offense punishable under the abuse of authority in New York. The reason behind why abuse of authority is a crime is that those vested with power if they use such power irresponsibly can bring harm to both the State as well as the people of the State. In order to dissuade such behavior, severe penalties have been put into place to prevent misuse of power in the State of New York.

Abuse of Authority Laws New York
What are the Punishments for Abuse of Authority in the State of New York?

The State of New York clearly defines which crimes and punishments constitute as abuse of authority in the State. Any violation of the Code of Ethics in the State in the State can result in the payment of fines, removal from office as well as civil penalties. The crimes and punishments for abuse of authority in New York include:

  • Class A Felonies: Bribery in the first degree, that is, where the amount in bribes exceeds $100,000 is considered a felony in New York. Corruption of government in the first degree is also chargeable under this category. The punishment for this crime can lead to a maximum prison sentence of life in prison or a fine that does not exceed $100,000.
  • Class C Felonies: Anyone guilty of accepting bribes in the second degree, that is, where the value of the bribe exceeds $50,000, or of rewarding official misconduct in the first degree, or of corrupting the government in the second degree is guilty of this crime. This is punishable by a maximum prison sentence that does not exceed fifteen years, a fine that is not more than $15,000, or both.
Abuse of Authority Laws
  • Class D Felonies: Anyone found guilty of accepting bribes in the third degree, or of corrupting the government in the third degree can face a maximum sentence not exceeding seven years in the State.
  • Class E Felonies: Anyone found guilty of rewarding official misconduct in the second degree, or of corrupting the government in the fourth degree can be convicted of this crime. The punishment for this crime is a maximum prison sentence that does not exceed four years.
  • Class A Misdemeanors: Anyone found guilty of engaging in behavior that can be deemed as official misconduct, or of indulging in unlawful gratuities, can either face incarceration that does not exceed a period of one year or a fine that is not more than $1000, or both.

Aside from these, civil penalties can also be given to people who have violated the State's Code of Ethics. Such a person may have to pay fines that do not exceed $10,000, or the value of the benefit that has resulted in the violation in the State.


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