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What Is the Law on Abuse of Authority in Utah and What Are the Punishments for It?

When an individual tries to misuse the position of the office that they hold and try to work things their way, while going against the express orders of the state, it is known as Abuse of Authority. Officially termed as "Malfeasance of Office", this act mainly entails an individual trying to coerce other people into doing some illegal work for them or doing something that violates the sanctity of the office themselves. This includes taking bribes and showing undue preferences for one person over another.

Punishment for Abuse of Authority in Utah

In Utah, the crime of abusing one's authority is not limited to merely embezzling and falsifying public funds, but also occurs when an individual act against their own office or state. Thus, the punishment for abusing one's authority in the State of Utah is also taken as abusing one's position in their office. These crimes and their punishments thus include:

Second Degree Felonies

  • Giving or receiving bribes of a value that is over $1,000.
  • Misusing and misappropriating public funds of an amount that is more than $5,000.
  • Violating the Public Officer's and Employees' Ethics Act, if the amount of the violation amounts to more than $1,000.

A Second Degree Felony is punishable by a minimum prison time of 1 year and a maximum prison time of up to 15 years.

Abuse of Authority Laws Utah
Third Degree Felonies

  • Illegally altering the enrolled copy of a bill, resolution, or legislation.
  • Illegally trying to alter any aspect of a proposed resolution or a legislative bill.
  • Receiving or taking a bribe that is of any amount below $1000.
  • Misusing public money in any way, or trying to use public money to use it for one's own personal gains.
  • Violating the Public Officer's and Employees' Ethics Act in an amount that is between $250 and $1,000.

A Third Degree Felony is punishable by a maximum prison time of up to 5 years. A fine may or may not be levied, depending on the crime that has been committed.

Class A Misdemeanors

  • Threatening another individual to use political or official government action against them.
  • Cases of misconduct against an official or an employee, which is based on actual information from inside the organization.
  • Violating the Public Officer's and Employees' Ethics Act in any amount between $100 and $250.
Abuse of Authority Laws Utah

A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum prison time of up to 1 year. An additional fine may or may not be levied, depending on the crime and the position of the person who has been convicted.

Class B Misdemeanors

  • Taking or receiving a bribe in order to show someone off as a public servant.
  • Unofficial misconduct, which was not committed while on the job or while the individual was on official duty.
  • Cases of official misconduct, where the individual is accused of violating or shirking their duty and commit acts which are unauthorized and not sanctioned by the state.
  • Violating the Public Officers and Employees Ethics Act of any amount which is $100 or less.
  • Refusing to disclose one's financial statements, or releasing statements which are proven to be false.

A Class B misdemeanor will incur a maximum punishment of up to 6 months. In addition to this, a fine may or may not be incurred, depending on the crime that was committed.

If an individual violates the Public Officer's and Employees Ethics, they may have to face a permanent ban on their services as a public official and may face expulsion and removal from their office as well.

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