Whether you’re just a private individual or a representative of a public office, a bribery charge is a serious allegation. If you have already been accused, you may be in disbelief that someone has brought bribery charges against you. This is damaging to your character and might also be associated with criminal charges. You should contact a criminal defense lawyer sooner rather than later to develop a defense plan so that your rights are protected in court.

Bribery Background

Bribery falls under the umbrella of white collar crimes in Arizona. On a general level, it involves a claim that you have offered something valuable to a person in a position of power in order to influence that person’s behavior.

In order for a bribery charge to stick, the person giving or accepting a bribe must do so with “corrupt intent.” This means that you cannot be accused of bribery if the benefit was given out of goodwill without any expectation of some kind of reciprocal action. As you might have guessed, the prosecution must be able to demonstrate that you gave or accepted a bribe with this intent.

There’s a lot of gray area when it comes to bribery and a lot depends on the evidence at hand. Even if you feel confident about beating the charges, it is a wise move to communicate with a Mesa criminal defense attorney so that you are clear about your next steps. An experienced criminal lawyer can provide you with some insight about what to expect and what you need to do to protect yourself.

Bribery of a Public Servant

Under A.R.S. 13-2602 through 13-2606, it is illegal to attempt to bribe a public servant. This refers to any situation where you try to influence a public official’s actions with a certain incentive. This might include a judgment, a vote, or an act of discretion. A public official can also be accused of bribery if he or she accepts or agrees to any of these incentives in return for something else.

An instance of bribery involving a public servant is classified as a class 4 felony with up to three years in prison. If the situation involves a public official who agrees to or accepts a bribe in exchange for being appointed to a public office, the crime is classified as a class 6 felony.

Commercial Bribery

Another example of bribery includes situations where an individual offers benefits to an employee for the purpose of influencing that person’s actions related to his or her job. An employee who accepts such an offer could also be guilty of commercial bribery. The charges for this crime depend on the value of the bribe as follows:

  • Class 1 misdemeanors for a value of $100 or less
  • Class 6 felony for value between $100 and $1,000
  • Class 5 felony for value of more than $1,000

Handling a Bribery Charge

Simply being accused of bribery can be damaging to your reputation. Don’t hesitate to get feedback on your situation- consult with an attorney today.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please feel free to contact Mesa Criminal Attorney, Garrett L. Smith at 480-540-6021 log on to www.mycriminaldefenselawyeraz.com, or contact an attorney in your area.