Penal Code Section 39.02 makes it illegal for a public servant to use government property, services, personnel, or anything of value, that comes into the public servant’s possession by virtue of the public servant’s office. The mental state requirement for this offense is that the public servant intended to obtain a benefit while intentionally or knowingly committing the act in question.
This offense ranges from a Class C misdemeanor if the value of the thing used was less than $100 to a first-degree felony if the value of the thing used was $300,000 or more.
|Value||Offense Level||Punishment Range|
|Under $100||Class C||Up to $500 fine|
|$100 – $750||Class B||Up to 180 days in jail|
|$750- $2,500||Class A||Up to 1 year in jail|
|$2,500 – $30,000||State Jail||180 days – 2 years in State Jail|
|$30,000-$150,000||Third Degree||2-10 years in prison|
|$150,000-$300,000||Second Degree||2-20 years in prison|
|Upwards of $300,000||First Degree||5-99 years/life|
For example: State officers and employees are prohibited from using a state computer on state time to send email messages to co-workers urging them to vote for a certain candidate in an upcoming election. Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson may have missed that.
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