Misconduct in Office

Any public official who has been charged with a crime while at work, or who uses his or her position to carry out a crime can face serious charges in Maryland for misconduct in office.  While this charge is classified as a misdemeanor, there is no set maximum penalty because it is a common law offense.  Common law offenses have no specific statute enacted by the legislature to criminalize the act, but decades of caselaw has still made the conduct illegal.  Anyone who is charged with this offense faces an uphill battle in court, which makes hiring an experienced lawyer all the more important.  Most of these cases are followed closely by various media outlets, and you can bet that prosecutors and judges take notice of the extra attention.  Defendants in higher profile cases are often treated unfairly, but a skilled and experienced attorney will fight to even the odds.  Benjamin Herbst is a Maryland criminal defense lawyer who specializes in misconduct in office charges, and is standing by for a free consultation at 410-207-2598.  Benjamin has successfully represented numerous public officials in the past and is prepared to do whatever it takes to fight for the best possible result in your case.

While you cannot look up the definition of misconduct in office in the state criminal code, the definition has been well established over time.  Misconduct in office in Maryland is defined as corrupt behavior by a public officer while in the exercise of official duties or while acting under color of law.  The state must prove three basic elements to convict a defendant; the first element of misconduct in office is establishing that the defendant was a public officer.  The term public officer has a broad definition, and basically includes anyone employed by or holding appointment under the government.  This includes politicians, police officers, corrections officers, and those sitting on any type of planning, licensing or zoning boards.  Anyone holding a government job, paid or unpaid, qualifies as a government officer.  If prosecutors establish the public official element, they must then prove the defendant acted in his or her official capacity or took advantage of his or her office.  Under this element the defendant does not actually have to be on duty or working, but rather held out his or her role in government for some sort of gain.  The third and final element is that the defendant corruptly did an act or failed to do an act required by their role.  This basically means the defendant received an improper benefit from another person by doing something or neglecting to do something.  The caselaw does not require that the defendant received money or any other specific type of gain, but rather that there was the broad term of “corruption” involved.  The term corruption leaves far too much interpretation for the judge or jury, but a lawyer will assure that the fact finder is unbiased and applies the strict standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  If you are charged with misconduct in office never speak to police or law enforcement, and do not give a statement to your employer without talking to a lawyer first.  Making statements can be extremely damaging to your case, and is never advisable even if you feel you have done nothing wrong.  It never hurts to contact a lawyer before making a decision to give a statement.

Misconduct in office lawyer Benjamin Herbst fights tooth and nail to protect his clients at all costs, and has the skill and experienced defending cases in Maryland to produce the best results.  He defends clients in all jurisdictions including Baltimore City and County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County.  Benjamin is also an experienced Eastern Shore criminal defense lawyer who has successfully defended dozens of clients in Salisbury, Ocean City and Easton, and has also taken on the State in Frederick, Washington and Allegany Counties.
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