Bribery can occur at every level of politics and across many sectors of public service and private enterprise. It also is not always easy to recognize an action as bribery. In some incidents, a person may not understand that accepting or giving something could be viewed as a bribe. This lack of knowledge surrounding bribery laws typically does not exclude a person from possibly facing charges. A bribery charge is usually considered serious and someone facing these allegations may want to consult with a Broward County bribery defense lawyer prior to engaging in legal proceedings.
If you are accused of either giving or receiving a bribe, contact one of our experienced fraud attorneys. Learning how to potentially mitigate the consequences of an alleged bribe or any related charge may significantly benefit your case. A Broward County bribery lawyer could help you fight a charge and set the record straight. Consult a Leifert & Leifert attorney for a free initial consultation and case review.
Defining Bribery in Broward County
Bribery, defined in §838.015 of the Florida Statutes, consists of any gift, offer, or promise knowingly or intentionally made to a public servant with the intent or purpose of influencing their performance in carrying out their official duties.
A public servant may be charged with bribery for complying with any request or solicitation that is not authorized by law, including the acceptance of a benefit, pecuniary or otherwise. Typically, this allegation treated as a felony in the second-degree in Broward County and may be punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and a potential maximum prison sentence of 15 years. Due to the severe penalties associated with this charge, it is imperative that individuals seek the services of a Broward County bribery lawyer if they are facing charges.
Who is Considered a Public Servant?
Public servants can work in a variety of capacities and it may not always be clear whether someone is considered a public servant. In Broward County, a public servant may include any of the following:
- An officer or employee of a governmental entity
- A person who acts as a magistrate, receiver, auditor, arbitrator, referee, umpire, consultant, or hearing officer of a government function
- A candidate for election in public office
Unlawful Compensation for Official Behavior
While a bribery charge may be incurred for many reasons, Florida Statute §838.016, explains that it is illegal to knowingly or intentionally give, offer, or promise a benefit for performance or nonperformance of a past, present, or future official duty. As a public official, it is likewise a violation of this section to accept such compensation. This does not, however, include a reward for catching a criminal.
A conviction of unlawful compensation for official behavior is often treated by the prosecution as a second-degree felony and punishable in the same manner as bribery.
Bribery in an Athletic Contest
According to Florida Statute §838.12, it is considered a third-degree felony to bribe a referee, umpire, judge or other officials in any professional or amateur game, contest, match, race, or sport. Likewise, it is a violation of this section to pay a participant to throw or fix an athletic event named above. A third-degree felony may be punishable by a five-year maximum prison sentence and a fine of up to $5,000. This statute is typically aimed at preventing the unlawful controlling of sporting event outcomes for gambling purposes.
Commercial bribery generally consists of a benefit given, received, or bargained for to influence a person to violate a statutory or common law duty to another. Examples of persons who may be charged with commercial bribery could potentially include:
- Any employee or agent
- A director, partner, or manager of an organization
- A trustee or guardian
- A lawyer, doctor, accountant, or appraiser
- An arbitrator or another supposedly disinterested party
Commercial bribery is also generally regarded as a third-degree felony. The potential penalty for commercial bribery is a five-year maximum prison sentence and a fine of up to $5,000. If you are facing commercial bribery charges, contact one of our accomplished Broward County bribery lawyers.
Contacting a Broward County Bribery Attorney
Bribery charges could result in surprisingly severe consequences. Facing a bribery allegation can be extremely stressful, and a person without an attorney may find it difficult to navigate the legal system alone. Consulting with one of our criminal defense lawyers who is experienced in bribery law may benefit your case.
If you were charged with any form of bribery or a related offense, reach out to a Broward County bribery defense lawyer. A consultation may help you better understand the charges brought against you by the prosecution. An attorney may review your case and work tirelessly to build a strong defense. Call Leifert & Leifert today to schedule a free initial consultation.