This page is dedicated to explaining the facts of law behind bribery, the punishment associated with that charge, and how bribery attorneys can help you fight against a bribery charge.
What is Bribery?
Bribery is the offer or acceptance of anything of value in exchange for influence on a government/public official or employee. Bribes can take many forms, such as the offering of gifts or payments of money in exchange for favorable treatment. These favorable treatments can include awards of government contracts, dropping of criminal charges, concealment of evidence, or dereliction of official duties. Other forms of bribes may include offering of property, various goods, privileges, services, sexual favors and other perks.
How does the government prove bribery?
Bribes are always intended to manipulate or influence the action of various individuals who are in the position of power and go hand in hand with both political and public corruption. Usually with a bribery case, no written agreement between the briber and briberee is necessary to prove the crime of bribery, but a prosecutor generally must show corrupt intent. In most situations, both the person offering the bribe and the person accepting can be charged with bribery.
In addition, The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 makes it unlawful for a United States citizen, as well as certain foreign issuers of securities, to pay a foreign official in order to obtain business with any person. In 1998 a provision to the Act was added which applies to any foreign firms or foreign-born persons who take any act in furtherance of a corrupt payment while in the United States. This means that any US citizen or residential aliens can be found guilty of bribery if he/she pays an official, both domestic and foreign, in order to conduct business in a foreign country or in the U.S.
What are the punishments for bribery?
The federal and all state governments have bribery laws and each handle the charge differently. However, one common thread that connect all these different charges is that both the federal and state governments view bribery as a corrupting crime and have attached heavy penalties to any violation of the bribery law. Usually categorized as a felony, anyone who’s found guilty of bribery can find themselves facing at least one year imprisonment and $50,000 in fines. The punishment associated with bribery will depend a few factors, such as:
- The amount of bribe paid to the official
- The position of the official
- The result of the bribe
While it is dangerous to provide generalized information, is it safe to see how the governments punish bribery by providing the following specific examples:
- In 2010, a witness in a federal trial was sentenced to 10 years in a federal prison and fined $150,000 for accepting $50,000 in bribes.
- Bribing a cop, even just to get out of a traffic ticket, is a felony in most states.
- Two former Pentagon officials were sentenced to 24 years in prison after taking $1 million in bribes and being provided with prostitutes.
- An army major who worked as a contracting officer was sentenced to 30 years in prison after accepting bribes from military contractors that totaled $9.6 million.
How can a bribery attorney help me once I’m charged?
Bribery charges have almost always resulted in a long trial and appeal process, especially if the charges were federal. A bribery attorney can help you navigate the complex criminal justice system and guide you to the best outcome possible. Below are just some examples of how a bribery attorney can help you understand and protect your legal rights:
- Negotiate with the Prosecutors for a Plea Bargain or a Deal
- Argue for You During Bond and/or Bail Hearing
- Aid You Through Evidentiary Hearings
- Take Your Case To Court
- File Appeals in Higher Courts If You are Found Guilty in the Trial Court
Remember, you can always defend yourself but you do not have the training and the education of a licensed bribery attorney. By hiring a bribery attorney, you will have the peace of mind that a professional is working hard for you. When in doubt, remember this famous legal saying, “The person who represent himself have a fool for a client.”
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