Bribery is the act of giving money, goods or other forms of recompense to a recipient in exchange for an alteration of their behavior (to the benefit/interest of the giver) that the recipient would otherwise not alter. Bribery is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.

Charges of bribery need only to prove that an agreement for the exchange of something of value (political influence, for example) for a sum of money or something else of value.

Prosecution of bribery can be at the State (Texas PENAL CODE TITLE 8. OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION CHAPTER 36. BRIBERY AND CORRUPT INFLUENCE) and Federal Levels.

The General Federal Bribery Statute punishes the following acts of bribery:

  • Any public official influencing the performance of any official act in violation of official duty;
  • A person bribing a public official with the intent to influence his/her testimony under oath or affirmation before any court, or any committee;
  • A person demanding bribery in return for being influenced in testimony under oath or affirmation as a witness in a trial or proceeding or in return for his/her absence from such appearance;
  • Any person offering bribery for the performance of a public duty;
  • Any person demanding bribery for the discharge of public duty;
  • Any person giving anything of value personally for testimony under oath to be given by such person as a witness upon any trial; and
  • Any person demanding anything of value personally for testimony under oath to be given by such person as a witness upon any trial.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 1977 makes it unlawful for a United States citizen, as well as certain foreign issuers of securities, to pay a foreign official in order to obtain business with any person. In 1998 a provision to the Act was added which applies to any foreign firms or foreign-born persons who take any act in furtherance of a corrupt payment while in the United States.

Often politicians get caught up in bribery scandals for politicians accepting gifts, including luxury trips and campaign contributions in exchange for official favors.

Call Alex R. Hernandez Jr. for criminal defense to a bribery charge.