Bribery involves any attempt to influence an official decision or action with a promise of monetary gain. Although money is a common example of bribery, other items or services of value may also be used as a bribe. As bribery charges are allegations with potentially severe consequences, enlisting a skilled fraud defense attorney could be advantageous to your case.
Various situations may lead to bribery charges, including cases where the individuals involved misunderstood or miscommunicated their intentions. By thoroughly investigating the situation and determining the most effective defense, a Fort Oglethorpe bribery lawyer could help you push back against these charges.
Bribery can take different forms, but Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 16-10-2 provides that bribery mainly involves offering, agreeing to give, or giving a public servant something of financial value in exchange for them exercising their power or influence in a specific way. Bribery also occurs if a public servant proposes, solicits, receives, or agrees to accept payment or other items of value in exchange for an exercise of their official discretion or similar action. Public servants may include elected or appointed government officials and government employees.
For instance, if a police officer pulls over a driver for speeding and the driver offers them $100 in exchange for the officers not issuing speeding tickets, they have committed bribery. Likewise, if the police officer accepts the bribe or solicits compensation from the driver, they commit bribery as a public servant. An attorney in the area could represent those charged with both giving and receiving bribes.
O.C.G.A. § 16-10-2 excepts some items explicitly from the definition of “things of value” concerning bribery charges. This list allows government officials or employees to accept token gifts or amenities without fear of facing bribery charges. Things of value do not include:
This code section also specifically designates other items that do not constitute “things of value,” including commercially reasonable loans made in the ordinary course of business, gifts from the family of the public official, and legitimate salary, fees, commissions, and benefits to which they are entitled in connection with their non-public businesses. The assistance of a nearby public corruption lawyer may be able to help individuals accused of this offense clear their names.
Bribery is a felony charge under state law. A bribery conviction can result in a prison sentence ranging from one to 20 years, a $5,000 fine, or both.
A bribery conviction also creates a criminal record that prospective employers and educational institutions can view. A criminal background could disqualify individuals from attaining or maintaining licenses for certain professions, obtaining some jobs, or pursuing some careers in general.
Individuals convicted of a felony also automatically lose some civil rights under state and federal law, such as the right to possess firearms or vote.
Various defenses may exist under state law to bribery charges, depending on the situation. Taking immediate action to protect your rights with an experienced Fort Oglethorpe bribery lawyer could be in your best interest.
Trying to explain your actions to law enforcement officers can end up creating more problems, as you may inadvertently give them more evidence to use against you. Instead, you should strongly consider enlisting the help of legal counsel as soon as you learn that you may be subject to a bribery investigation or allegations. Schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney today.