A democratic society is one in which ideally, all citizens have equal amounts of access to public officials and are free to attempt to influence those officials to effect policies that are positive in nature. However, society is also capitalistic in nature, and when money and influence come together, it can lead to problems in the eyes of the courts and legislatures.
Such is the case with bribery. Bribery by its very nature is meant to induce influence, regardless of who is paying whom, who makes the initial offer of payment and what the payment is intended to influence. That’s why there are strict and harsh bribery laws on the books of New York, the federal government and nearly every jurisdiction in the United States.
Below is a brief overview of the issue of bribery, and if you’re facing prosecution for such an offense, you need to contact our criminal defense legal team as soon as possible to schedule an initial consultation.
Bribery is generally defined in New York as:
§ 200.00 Bribery in the third degree.
A person is guilty of bribery in the third degree when he confers, or offers or agrees to confer, any benefit upon a public servant upon an agreement or understanding that such public servant’s vote, opinion, judgment, action, decision or exercise of discretion as a public servant will thereby be influenced.
Bribery in the third degree is a class D felony.
While the specific statute above defines bribery in the third degree, the lowest level of bribery, the base definition remains the same in regards to the benefit involved. There are more severe degrees of bribery, and the severity of the offense depends on the amount of money actually offered and accepted and the type of benefit conferred. For instance, a bribe to overlook a serious felony results in the recipient of said bribe becoming liable for a Class B felony, punishable by several years in prison.
As alluded to above, both parties in a bribe can be found criminally liable for these actions. It is just as exculpatory to receive a bribe as it is to offer one, provided that there is acceptance of said bribe. Public policy also demands harsh remedies in such a circumstance, as the targets of bribes are often public officials whose duty is to act in the best interests of everyone he or she represents in an official capacity.
If you are facing this situation, you need to take immediate steps to protect your rights. Contact the Blanch Law Firm as soon as possible to schedule an initial consultation.