Manassas Bribery Lawyer
Bribery crimes fall into the category of public corruption charges. These are sets of laws created to protect the integrity of public officials and their stations. The basic allegations underlying a charge of bribery assert that a person with corrupt intent accepted or offered to a public official something valuable in exchange for a specific action or influence.
In bribery cases, a person can be convicted whether they are the giver or receiver of the bribe. State and federal courts have interpreted bribery laws to include a large swath of people who technically qualify as “public officials.”
If you have been accused of bribery, your freedom and career are at risk, especially if you are employed as a government representative. Fortunately, a skilled Manassas bribery lawyer could fight for you. You do not have to fight bribery charges alone, call a seasoned fraud attorney today.
State Bribery Charges and Key Terms
Under the Code of Virginia, Section 18.2-447, a person is considered guilty of bribery if the person offers, accepts or solicits any “pecuniary benefit” or non-pecuniary benefit in exchange for a decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other form of influence to, from, or as a public servant or party official.
In Virginia Code Section 18.2-445, three key terms related to state bribery charges are further defined:
- A “pecuniary benefit” includes any money, property, commercial interest, or other benefits where the central character is an economic gain
- A “party official” includes persons who were either elected or appointed to a position within a political party, regardless of the level of responsibility
- A “public servant” is a term that describes any officer or employee of Virginia or any political subdivision of the state, and can also include persons who are working with the state as advisors, jurors, or consultants
In the state of Virginia, the parties involved with alleged bribery do not need to be technically able to carry out their end of the bargain. Any party accused and convicted of state law bribery violations can face a class four felony and a permanent bar to holding public office.
Federal Bribery Charges and Penalties
Federal bribery laws are meant to impact two sets of government officials: those who serve the U.S. government and those who serve foreign countries. The foreign country bribery statute is known as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Acts (FCPA). The more commonly used statute for bribery within the U.S. is 18 USC Section 201.
Federal bribery within the U.S. prohibits federal officials from demanding, seeking, receiving, accepting, or agreeing to accept anything of value in return for the performance of an official act or influence. Bribery requires that the perpetrator have the specific intent to give or gain something.
The arrangement is known as “quid pro quo” intent, where one party intends to exchange something of value for something else like influence, a vote, a particular decision, or an endorsement. A single count of bribery carries a fine of up to triple the amount of the bribe and up to 15 years in prison. Penalties can also bar a person from ever holding public office again. Bribery allegations carry severe penalties, which is why it is important for defendants to obtain the services of a Manassas bribery lawyer.
Reach Out to a Manassas Bribery Attorney
It is important to know your rights if the state or federal bribery charges are brought against you. An important first step is to discuss the situation with an experienced criminal defense attorney to decide whether to cooperate with an investigation.
When you have a dedicated advocate at your side, you can properly explore available alternatives and mount an aggressive defense to all criminal charges. Call a Manassas bribery lawyer today for an initial consultation.