Bribery is an attempt to influence another person’s actions, usually a government or public official employee, by offering a benefit in exchange for the desired decision. Bribes are often gifts or money for favorable treatment. For example, if you were pulled over by the police and offered the officer cash in exchange for getting out of a ticket. In most cases, the person offering the bribe and the person who accepts a bribe can be charged with bribery.
If you have been charged with or arrested for bribery, you can discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney. Simply fill out the free case evaluation form on this page or call 877-445-1059 to arrange a no-obligation consultation today.
In contemporary American law, bribery is generally defined as the offering, giving, receiving or soliciting of something of value, usually money, for the purpose of influencing the behavior of a public official.
Bribery charges rely on the expectation of an action. Without this expectation, any potential bribe may simply be a gift. In a criminal case, the prosecution must argue that undue influence was sought.
A bribe may consist of cash, favor, or gift of value, or promise of future payment. The value and desired outcome of the bribe may determine whether the crime is charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
Proof of bribery may exist in a written contract, however, it is not necessary. Only intent to influence is typically necessary.
Bribery charges come in many variations, and may depend on the state, the circumstances of the crime, and the role of the defendant. For example, a person who offers a bribe to a public servant may be charged with bribery, solicitation, improper influence, or other wording. A person who takes a bribe may face additional charges, including misuses of public office, official misconduct, or similar charges.
Just as criminal charges depend on a number of factors, the penalties for bribery can be as small as a fine to a long prison sentence. Bribery may be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the type and amount of bribe, as well as other factors. Generally, misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in prison, while felonies are punishable by more than one year.
Punishment for bribery also often includes a fine, which may be the full amount of the bribe, or an amount greater than the bribe. For government employees and officials, bribery may also be punishable under state ethics codes. These punishments may be in addition to criminal penalties.
Discuss Bribery Charges with a Defense Lawyer
If you are facing criminal charges for bribery, get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer and schedule a free, no obligation consultation today. Call us at 877-445-1059 or fill out our free case evaluation form to get started.
The above summary of bribery is by no means all-inclusive and is not legal advice. Laws may have changed since our last update. For the latest information on bribery laws and penalties, speak to a criminal defense attorney in your area.