Bribery is a criminal offense that may be punishable by a fine, jail time or both. Furthermore, you may be declared ineligible to hold a government office in New York or anywhere else in the United States.
What is bribery?
Generally speaking, bribery occurs whenever you offer a reward in exchange for a favor that you might not otherwise be entitled to. For instance, giving a prosecutor money in exchange for not being charged with a crime would likely be considered bribery. The same might be true if you gave a foreign government official a financial kickback in exchange for permission to do business in that person’s country.
Accepting a bribe is a criminal act
You could be charged with a crime for being a willing participant in a bribery scheme. You might also face civil or criminal liability for any criminal acts that occur because of your participation in such a scheme. Say that you allowed an employee to pay you $1,000 to access a confidential customer file. If the information was used to commit identity theft, you could be charged with being an accomplice to the crime. A criminal law attorney may be able to provide more insight into the consequences that you might face for allegedly engaging in illegal activity.
The law doesn’t care if a scheme doesn’t work
To earn a conviction in a bribery case, a prosecutor only needs to show that you engaged in the act of making or taking a bribe. It generally doesn’t matter if your efforts to cover up a crime, earn a promotion or influence global politics didn’t go as planned.
If you are charged with bribery, it may be a good idea to hire a criminal law attorney to help with your case. He or she may be able to negotiate a plea deal or take other steps to help you obtain a favorable outcome in your case. These steps might include having evidence suppressed or casting doubt upon witness testimony at trial.