Dumfries Bribery Lawyer
Extortion, gratuity, and bribery are considered crimes of public corruption and Virginia aggressively prosecutes anyone suspected of them. Bribery trials are often long and the state will use a variety of direct and indirect evidence when making a decision to convict.
Whether a person is accused of bribing a public official or a private citizen, they will need to obtain the help of a trustworthy fraud attorney. Bribery convictions can result in a variety of penalties, including jail time, so you must take your charges seriously. If you are convicted, your entire life can be turned upside-down. Talk to a Dumfries bribery lawyer if you are ready to take action.
Elements of Bribery
Giving something of value with the intent to corrupt in exchange for some sort of act or influence is considered bribery. Bribery is illegal and, according to federal law, both the giver and the person offered the bribe can be held accountable if the bribe is accepted. To prove a person is guilty of bribery, the following elements must exist:
- To be charged with the act of bribery, an accused person must have offered something of value in exchange for a favor or influence. Anything that has value (not just money) can be viewed as an offer, including favors or services. Anything the federal court deems of value can be considered an element of a bribery case.
- The recipient of a bribe must be a public or federal official of some sort. The court interprets the definition of “public official” broadly.
- If a bribery charge is to have merit, the defendant must have acted with criminal intent. Whether a person has criminal intent in regards to a bribery charge can be debatable. In some cases, a local bribery attorney might be able to prove their client was merely offering a gift or donation, not a bribe.
If the three elements listed above are satisfied, the court may choose to convict the accused person of bribery. The penalties for bribery can be severe, especially if something of extreme value was offered. A conviction can be devastating for both the public official and the person who offered the bribe.
How Gratuity Differs from Bribery
There is a slight difference between the crimes of bribery and gratuity. Bribery involves an agreement between two parties in which there is an exchange of something of value for an act. With gratuity, a person only needs to give a public official something of value as compensation for a favor. In other words, the person offering the object or service of value does not need to have criminal intent.
If a person states or implies a previously given item or service was given in exchange for a favor, they can be charged with gratuity. Bribery focuses more on the future behavior of those involved, whereas gratuity addresses an exchange that has already happened. A gratuity lawyer in the area might be able to differentiate between bribery and gratuity in a particular case.
Consult a Dumfries Bribery Attorney
If you are a public official or you have been charged with bribing a public official, you have the right to defend yourself in court. With the help of the right lawyer, you might be able to get your charges dropped. Fighting bribery charges alone can be difficult, and more than likely you will need help from a skilled legal professional.
Consult a Dumfries bribery lawyer today about your case.