Arlington Bribery Lawyer
Bribery is not as dramatic—or as obvious—as it seems on television. In Arlington, bribery charges do not start with someone in a dark alley passing off a suitcase of unmarked bills. Instead, a charge of bribery often involves a campaign contribution that was improperly handled, or a government procurement contract that was awarded without following all proper procedures.
Unfortunately, a bribery conviction can have long-reaching effects in addition to the usual criminal penalties. So, if you are facing bribery charges, it is wise to consult a top Arlington bribery lawyer soon to learn how to protect your rights and avoid taking actions or making statements that could jeopardize your case. Work with a capable criminal attorney that could fight for you.
What Constitutes a Bribe?
The Virginia bribery prohibition essentially defines a bribe as something of value provided to influence the recipient’s decision as a public servant or in a judicial or administrative proceeding. (Va. Code Ann. §18.2-447)
The federal definition is similar. A bribe is considered to be something of value given to a public official to influence an official act, to collude in fraud, or to induce the official to do or omit doing something in a manner that violates their public duties. (18 U.S.C. §201.)
The Virginia law applies to bribes provided to “public servants” and “party officials,” while the federal law essentially applies to any person acting on behalf of the U.S. government.
Offering, Asking or Accepting Can All Constitute Bribery
Under either Virginia or U.S. law, there are three general types of actions that are considered violations of anti-corruption bribery provisions. These are:
- Offering a bribe (or agreeing to provide one),
- Seeking or asking for a bribe (Virginia uses the term “solicit”)
- Accepting a bribe
The statutory punishments are generally the same for all three actions, but particular courts might treat one type of conduct more severely than another.
Bribery Can Be Charged as Either a State or Federal Crime
Both the Commonwealth of Virginia and the U.S. government have enacted statutes prohibiting bribery, so bribery may be charged as a violation of state or federal law.
It is important to understand which laws and procedures apply to a particular case in order to properly defend against the charges.
Penalties for a Bribery Conviction
Under Virginia law, bribery is treated as a serious, Class 4 felony. Those convicted face a prison sentence from 2-10 years in length, a fine of up to $100,000 and disqualification from holding public office in Virginia. (Va. Code Ann. §18.2-449.)
The penalties for violation of the federal bribery provisions vary somewhat depending on the situation. In many cases, those found guilty may be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison and be required to pay fines as well. An Arlington bribery lawyer could mitigate the charges that an individual may face.
Let an Arlington Bribery Attorney Assist You
The consequences of a conviction for bribery are extremely serious, with penalties on par with those levied for violent felony offenses. So, it is vital to ensure that all available evidence is located, preserved and presented in the right manner to establish the best possible defense.
The sooner a defense attorney begins working on a case, the easier it is to collect evidence which may not be available as time passes. If you are facing bribery charges, you owe it to yourself to talk to a top Arlington bribery lawyer as soon as possible so that together you can start working toward the best possible resolution of your case.