Reference Number: 
CTAS-637

A public servant who requests a pecuniary benefit for the performance of an official action knowing that he or she was required to perform that action without compensation or at a level of compensation lower than that requested has committed the offense of solicitation of unlawful compensation, a Class E felony.  T.C.A. § 39-16-104.

In addition, pursuant to T.C.A. § 8-21-101, a county official is not allowed  to demand or receive fees or other compensation for any service further than is expressly provided by law.  If any officer demands or receives any other or higher fees than are prescribed by law, such officer is liable to the party aggrieved in the penalty of $50.00, to be recovered before any judge of the court of general sessions, and the officer also commits a Class C misdemeanor.  T.C.A. § 8-21-103.  See State v. Dixie Portland Cement Co., 267 S.W. 595 (Tenn. 1925) (public officers can receive no fees or costs, except as expressly authorized by law).  See also Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 95-118 (November 28, 1995) (As previously opined by this office, under Bayless v. Knox County, 199 Tenn. 268, 286 S.W.2d 579 (1955), and Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-21-101, a county or a county's chief law enforcement officer may only require or accept payment or other compensation if expressly authorized by statute.  Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 91-76 (August 20, 1991). Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen U91-76 (May 22, 1991). Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 88-199 (November 10, 1988). Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 88-93 (April 20, 1988)).