You may not have thought asking for that favor was illegal, but if you offer something in exchange for that favor, you may be facing bribery charges. A Chattanooga bribery lawyer could represent you through every stage of the criminal justice process from investigation, plea negotiation, and trial. Whether the allegations and charges you are facing are state or federal, a dedicated attorney could help defend your rights and fight for the best possible outcome.
Bribery is the influencing of another by promising money, gifts, or other personal benefits in exchange for some advantage. Public officials, witnesses, and jurors are all common targets for bribes.
Any effort to change a public figure’s vote, opinion, judgment, awarding of a contract, or other exercises of discretion could lead to serious bribery allegations. Regardless of whether the payment was suggested or requested, both parties to the arrangement may be held culpable. If a driver is pulled over for speeding and offers the police officer $100 to avoid a ticket, and the officer accepts, authorities would view this transaction as a bribe. The outcome is the same if the transaction is initiated by the officer requesting the money.
Bribery can be either a state or federal offense, and, in some cases, a suspect may face charges in both federal and state courts. A strong defense strategy must consider this possibility, and local legal counsel familiar with handling bribery crimes could take a holistic approach to preparing the best defense plan possible.
Tennessee’s Offenses Against Administration of Government law forbids promises of financial gain to win the favor of public officials, witnesses, or jurors. Bribery is a felony in Chattanooga, but the length of any prison sentence and the amount of the fine owed depend on the nature of the public figure involved.
The law does not require public servants convicted of bribery to relinquish their positions, but a conviction disqualifies them from holding any public office in the future.
Federal law also prohibits bribery of public officials and those engaging in official acts before public officials. Additionally, federal statutes forbid corruption of financial institutions, sporting events, and port security. If found guilty of bribery in federal court, a Chattanooga resident could face one to 15 years in prison and substantial fines.
Those in Chattanooga with international business dealings must avoid behavior that violates the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This law prohibits U.S. citizens from paying foreign officials for favorable treatment or business opportunities in the official’s country. If convicted, the court could impose a fine up to $100,000, a prison term for up to five years, and civil penalties.
Being the subject of a bribery investigation, however, does not necessarily leave Chattanooga suspects powerless. Perhaps the police have their facts wrong. Both federal and state law recognize discrete defenses to bribery allegations. For example, in Tennessee, proof that the payment is permitted by law, nominal, or a legitimate campaign donation may lead to an acquittal. Knowledgeable bribery attorneys may help those accused in Chattanooga to put forth their most persuasive case.
Not every defense lawyer has a handle on both federal and Tennessee bribery laws. To put forth the best defense possible, you should consider working with an attorney who has extensive experience handling state and federal bribery cases. The sooner you select your advocate, the sooner you can start building your defense. Reach out to one of our Chattanooga bribery lawyers to schedule a case consultation.