A mere suggestion of bribery could harm your personal and professional reputation, and a conviction could result in costly fines and extended jail time. Sometimes, bribery charges arise from simple misunderstandings. If you find yourself facing bribery charges, you should seek help from a knowledgeable and experienced attorney as soon as possible. An experienced Bloomington bribery lawyer could help sort out any misunderstandings and aggressively defend your rights.

How is Bribery Defined in Bloomington?

Bribery is a white-collar crime involving a quid pro quo relationship in which one person offers money or something of value in return for something else. Often, a person may offer a bribe in exchange for beneficial treatment or a special favor. Bribery is considered a crime for both the person who offers the bribe and the person who solicits or receives the bribe.

To convict someone of bribery, prosecutors need to prove intent. If the police believe that a bribe is about to take place, they may set up a sting operation to catch the offer or acceptance of a bribe. A local lawyer could help defend against unlawful sting operations, and they could also demonstrate a lack of intention to offer or accept a bribe.

Types of Bribes

Many bribe cases involve public officials, someone may offer a powerful figure a bribe to influence their decisions or change the outcome of a particular scenario. For example, if a developer hopes to speed up a permit approval process, they may try to bribe the public official in charge of setting the timetable and handing out the applicable building permits. Similarly, after being stopped for speeding, a person may offer a police officer money to avoid a speeding ticket, or a person facing criminal charges may offer favors to members of a jury or a judge so that they avoid a criminal conviction.

Penalties Under State Law

Several different statutes address bribery under state law. Minnesota Statutes Section 609.42 addresses general bribery charges, such as when people attempt to solicit favors from public officials. If convicted of general bribery charges, one could face a ten-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $20,000. Minnesota Statutes Section 609.825 concerns the bribery of a contest official. If somebody uses a bribe to try to influence the outcome of a sporting contest or game, such as by offering a referee money to make calls in one team’s favor, they could receive a five-year jail sentence and a $10,000 fine. Minnesota Statutes Section 609.86 addresses the issue of commercial bribery in which employers solicit bribes from their employees. Depending on the value of the benefit, a person convicted under this statute could receive a $10,000 fine and a five year jail term.

An experienced bribery attorney in the area could explain the different statutes and how they might apply to an individual case.

Possible Punishments under Federal Bribery Laws

If the crime involves federal officials, an individual could also face federal charges of bribery under specific federal bribery statutes or the General Federal Bribery Statute (“GFBS”), as outlined in 18 U.S. Code § 201. The GFBS prohibits offering a public official anything that could influence that public official’s actions or decisions, and it also prohibits public officials from accepting those bribes.

A person convicted of federal bribery charges could face jail time in a federal prison and could have to pay hefty fines. If convicted under the GFBS, a person could serve up to 15 years in jail and face a fine equivalent to three times the bribe’s value. A qualified legal professional understands how difficult it can be to face federal bribery charges, and could work to develop a strong defense strategy.

Reach out to a Bloomington Bribery Attorney Today

Bribery cases are complex and can involve both federal and state law. You may need the help of a seasoned Bloomington bribery lawyer who will work tirelessly to build a defense and protect you against wrongful charges. Call to set up a consultation today and get started on your case.