Culpeper County Bribery Lawyer
Bribery is a white collar crime that is commonly misunderstood in Culpeper. While many people are aware that it would be a crime to hand an elected official a suitcase full of unmarked bills in exchange for a favorable ruling on a zoning request, they are not all aware that failure to properly document a transaction or donation can violate bribery laws. It is possible to commit bribery without being aware of it.
No matter the intent, bribery is treated as a serious offense. With the potential criminal penalties, a conviction for bribery could have a detrimental effect on your career and other aspects of your life.
If you are charged with bribery, it is a good idea to talk to an experienced Culpeper County bribery lawyer who could explain how to protect your rights and how to avoid actions that could compound the offense. A dedicated criminal defense attorney could help you fight the charges and work toward a positive outcome in your case.
Important Factors to Understand About Bribery
Both state and federal laws contain prohibitions against bribing public officials or jurors. A bribe is an exchange of something of value, which is not always money, to influence a decision.
The person offering or paying a bribe is considered just as guilty as the person accepting or seeking a bribe. The offense of bribery is also committed at the time someone offers a bribe or solicits a bribe. Nothing of value needs to exchange hands in order for someone to be guilty of bribery. A Culpeper County attorney could help a defendant understand their bribery charges.
State Bribery Laws
Virginia Code Annotated §18.2-447 governs bribery of public officials while Va. Code Ann. §18.2-441 prohibits bribing jurors. The former statute specifically prohibits offering a bribe, accepting a bribe, or soliciting a bribe in connection with influencing a decision, a vote, or other exercises of discretion as a public servant, party official, or in a judicial or administrative proceeding. The latter statute pertaining to bribery of jurors forbids offering or accepting a bribe and does not specifically prohibit the solicitation of a bribe.
An official may be found guilty of accepting or soliciting a bribe even the official has not yet taken office. A juror may be found guilty of accepting a bribe even if not yet impaneled. A person’s legal counsel could advise them on what to do next after being charged for such an offense.
Both statutes treat bribery as a Class 4 felony. Those convicted face up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Officials found guilty of bribery are permanently prohibited from holding public office. Individuals are recommended to consult a Culpeper County bribery attorney to learn what potential penalties they face for bribery charges.
Federal Bribery Laws
While they pertain to federal officials and jurors in federal proceedings, federal bribery laws are very similar to the state prohibitions. Federal statute 18 U.S.C. §201 also covers bribery of witnesses in trials, hearings, and other proceedings. It also prohibits jurors and witnesses from soliciting bribes and accepting them.
Penalties for violating this statute include up to fifteen years in prison, fines, and potential disqualification from holding public office. The statute also includes a lesser offense in 18 U.S.C. §201(c) is also referred to as offering a gratuity. The maximum penalties for this offense are substantially lower than for bribery.
Consult a Knowledgeable Culpeper County Bribery Attorney
Bribery carries the potential for heavy fines and lengthy terms of imprisonment. The criminal record created by a conviction could wreak havoc on aspects of your life for years to come.
The prosecution must prove every element of a bribery offense in order to achieve a conviction. A knowledgeable Culpeper County bribery lawyer could analyze the facts of the situation and seek out evidence to exploit the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case to build the strongest possible defense. For a free consultation to learn your options, call now.