Bribery, especially among public servants, is a serious white collar crime in the city of New York. It is to understand some few things about the offense if you are under investigation for bribery.
Nature of the Crime
Bribery is defined by article 200 of the Penal Law. It can be interpreted as giving something of value to someone in exchange for an expected outcome or action. Bribery does not only involve money. It could be anything that is considered valuable such as personal favors and official action. Bribery is a felony, and a felony charge in New York carries a minimum sentence of a year in prison and fines of over $5,000.
The following form the basis of bribery charges.
· Bribery in the first, second and third degrees.
· Bribe receipt in the first, second and third degrees.
· Rewarding official misconduct in the first and second degree.
· Receiving reward for official misconduct in the first and second degree.
· Giving and receiving unlawful gratuities.
· Giving and receiving bribes in public office.
· Undermining the integrity of a licensing examination run by the government.
· Use of power or authority in a corrupt manner.
All of the above charges are felonies except giving and receiving unlawful gratuities. Giving and accepting illegal gifts is considered a class A misdemeanor.
Legal Penalties for the Crime
Of all the bribery charges listed above, costs of the first degree are the most serious and carry the steepest penalties. The seriousness of a bribery crime is determined by the amount of money involved and the level of influence of the person(s) involved in the offense. Usually, several people are included in the act of bribery, and everyone in the chain is charged. Whether you receive or give a bribe, you will be indicted for the felony of bribery. Bribery of the first degree could get you up to twenty-five years in prison. Second degree and third-degree bribery charges could get you up to fifteen years and seven years imprisonment respectively. Even if you have not yet given or received the bribe, but have the intention of doing so, and there is evidence to prove this, you need to lawyer up.
Bribery in the first, second and third degree are class B, C, and D felonies respectively. Bribe receiving in the first, second and third degree are class B, C, and D felonies respectively. Rewarding official misconduct in the first and second degree are class C and E felonies respectively. Receiving a reward for an action falls in the first and second degree are class C and E felonies respectively. Giving and accepting unlawful gratuities are a class A misdemeanors. Bribe giving and receiving for public servants as well as undermining the integrity of a licensing examination run by the government are class D felonies.
The New York Penal Code 200.05 provides a possible defense for an act of bribery. If the reason for the action of bribery or attempt to commit the act of bribery results from extortion of coercion from a public servant, this is a possible defense and your charges could be dropped. However, you will need an excellent investigative lawyer who will be able to prove extortion exists to have the charges of bribery dismissed. This is the only legal defense defined by the Penal Law.
Other possible defenses that your lawyer may make include entrapment. This can only be accepted on rare occasions and should encompass two critical elements. First of all, you will have to prove that the public official coerced you into committing the crime. Secondly, you will have to show that you had no intention of committing the act and could get to benefit from it. This is hard to prove and is why defense lawyers typically steer clear of using it as a defense.
How Our Attorneys Can Help
Bribery charges are severe and require the services of a criminal lawyer. They can use any of the defenses listed above if they apply. If they do not, then the lawyer will conduct as much investigation into your case and come up with the possible defense to give you a reduced sentence and reduced penalties. You will also need a lawyer to help you organize for bail.
Bribery is a serious charge, and you should get a lawyer sooner rather than later.