Misconduct in Office
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.