Mistakes to Avoid in DC Federal Bribery and Public Corruption Cases
In recent years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia has focused their attention on prosecuting federal bribery and public corruption cases. As a result, federal defense lawyers in DC have noticed an increase in the number of these types of cases. As these cases increase, so do the mistakes that people make when facing bribery charges. A knowledgeable attorney can tell you which mistakes to avoid in DC federal bribery and public corruption cases. If you have been charged with bribery or corruption, contact a federal bribery and public corruption lawyer in DC right away to discuss your next strategic move.
Common Mistakes Made by Those Charged With Bribery
One of the most common mistakes to avoid in DC federal bribery and public corruption cases is giving long interviews with DC law enforcement agents that effectively foreclose certain defenses, or are viewed as outright confessions. This is often done by those who believe they are under investigation or are directly notified that they are being investigated.
It is imperative that anyone who believes they are potentially under investigation in a federal public corruption or bribery case does not speak to anybody about anything in the case. When someone protests their innocence and then engages in an interview with law enforcement, law enforcement agents don’t mind if someone is protesting their innocence, they just want to expose more alleged facts. They want to hear the information a person gives because they are disoriented after having likely been ambushed with police questions at 6:00 in the morning.
One of the mistakes to avoid in DC federal bribery and public corruption cases is putting a bribe transaction in writing before being arrested. Another mistake an individual makes is to talk to other people about the bribery after they learn they are being investigated. Making a confession to somebody else who is not police is an unwise thing to do. The police can talk to that person and make them testify against the individual.
The FBI agents can interview the person about the bribery confession they heard from the individual and subpoena the person and put them in front of the grand jury. With limited exceptions, the witness must testify against the individual who is charged with bribery.
Often times, investigators ask about something that may have happened years earlier and the person does not have time to prepare an answer. Or they could be giving incorrect information because they don’t recall or they could be giving information that hurts them when they think they’re helping. Investigators in DC are trying to get people to incriminate themselves. It is rarely a good idea to speak with law enforcement officials without having your attorney by your side. A person who is being investigated by the federal government cannot talk their way out of it.
The number one thing an individual can do is to be quiet and call an attorney. The person should not speak to their friends about the issue because those friends could be subpoenaed to tell what they know. They should not discuss the issue with relatives or anyone else. Anything an individual says can be used against them. The government has almost unlimited resources to break down barriers in these types of investigations and they will not hesitate to do so.
Misconceptions Perpetuated By Popular Culture
The biggest misconception is that if someone offers a bribe and it is not accepted, they are not guilty of bribery. The attempted bribery is covered under the bribery statute if it is a DC public official or a federal public official.
Many misconceptions about the law come from popular culture. Most people think that if a person is arrested, they get one phone call. That is not necessarily the case. For example in DC, a person is arrested by the DC police and says they want to call their lawyer. The police officer is under no legal obligation to allow the person to make a phone call. If the officer is really nice and has the time to do so, they might let a person call their lawyer from their cell phone but it is not a legal requirement in the District.
There is no bail in DC so a person is not going to bond out. Everyone assumes there is bail in DC because in every TV show that is what they see. Unfortunately, the law is not taught to American citizens with any kind of specific detail. That is why it is a specialty to be a criminal defense attorney.
Because most citizens in the United States do not know the law, they rely on what they see and hear. They believe that if an individual offers a bribe and it is not taken, everyone forgets about it and goes about their day. That is not in any way how it works.
Aggravating Factors in DC Federal Bribery and Public Corruption Cases
Other factors include a role adjustment. For example, prosecutors will consider if someone is a leader or organizer versus being a small-time player or having only minor involvement. The loss amount is a huge issue. If victims can be identified that could also potentially be an aggravating factor. If sophisticated means were used to either engage in the bribery or to cover it up, that can be an enhancement. Obstruction of justice could potentially be an enhancement if, for example, people try to keep witnesses from going to the police or law enforcement to testify.
When to Contact a DC Federal Defense Lawyer
A person should contact a federal bribery and public corruption attorney the second they realize they might be under investigation. This is regardless if a person has received a formal subpoena or simply sees the business card of an FBI agent left in their mailbox. If there is a knock on the door, once they realize that a search warrant is being executed, they should contact an attorney immediately. The person should not speak to law enforcement or anybody else before then. An adept attorney can tell you which nistakes to avoid in DC federal bribery and public corruption cases, and can help you build your defense.