Official Misconduct Penalties in New Jersey Are Serious

Edison Police Shoplifter Lucky

edison county police department

An Edison New Jersey Police Officer plead guilty to Shoplifting in Middlesex County Superior Court on August 10, 2009, according mycentraljersey.com .

Forget for a minute that a 29 year police veteran would need to, want to or risk, Shoplifting $42.00 worth of items from a supermarket where he works off-duty on a security detail. The real story is that he was able to avoid mandatory state prison time for Official Misconduct.

Official Misconduct in New Jersey (N.J.S.A. 2C: 30-2) occurs when a public servant (yes, a police officer) commits an act relating to his office with the purpose to obtain a benefit for himself. In this case, the officer’s attorney stated that his client felt pressured to plea to the Shoplifting because the State was threatening to Indict the officer for Official Misconduct.

Of course there may have been an issue as to whether the officer committed an act related to his office as is required by the Official Misconduct statute. On the one hand, he was off-duty working a security detail and he was paid by the Supermarket. On the other hand, he was wearing his police uniform and he was hired by the Supermarket through the Edison police department. An interesting legal debate would have surely taken place.

The risk of getting Indicted and found guilty of Official Misconduct, however, was simply too great for this officer. Although Official Misconduct involving less than $200.00 is only a third degree offense (normally a presumption of non-incarceration applies), a special New Jersey sentencing provision requires mandatory imprisonment for Official Misconduct convictions. N.J.S.A. 2C: 43-6.5 . Had the Officer in this case been convicted of 3rd degree Official Misconduct, he would have received a minimum of two (2) years in New Jersey State prison.

The attorneys at Clark and Clark, LLC are former prosecutors who have handled thousands of criminal cases including Official Misconduct charges and Shoplifting. If you need an experienced attorney you can trust, call our office today at (732) 303-7857.

More Posts