Bribery can constitute when someone gives something of value or provides a service to influence an official to take certain actions while carrying out their official duties. Both the offering of a bribe and the acceptance of a bribe are very serious criminal offenses under South Carolina and federal law.
Federal bribery laws provide penalties equivalent to some of the most severe violent crimes, including as much as fifteen years in prison. However, bribery is an offense that can be charged in error. If you are facing bribery charges, it is important to get in contact with a professional defense attorney. A dedicated South Carolina federal bribery lawyer can advocate on your behalf and defend against the charges to help reach the best possible disposition of your case.
The United States statutes governing this type of crime are found in Chapter 11 of the U.S. criminal code, Title 18 under the heading bribery, graft, and conflicts of interest. A graft is defined as the dishonest use of a position of authority for personal gain, particularly in a political context.
Chapter 11 starts with definitions and a broad statute containing general prohibitions against bribery of public officials and witnesses in court proceedings and federal hearings. The chapter also includes more than 25 additional statutes addressing specific situations such as bribes in professional and amateur sports, gifts for procuring loans, and payments for political appointments. A person accused of this offense should seek immediate consultation with a South Carolina federal bribery lawyer.
The general federal bribery statute set forth Section 201 of Title 18 prohibits giving or offering anything of value to any public official with intent to influence an official act, encourage the commission of fraud on the U.S. government, or to induce that official to do or fail to do something in violation of their official duties. This statutory provision also prohibits accepting such offers.
In addition, the statute also forbids the offering of something of value in exchange for witness testimony in official government proceedings, except in cases where expert witnesses are paid to share their knowledge with those present.
Examples of situations that violate the general federal bribery statute include:
The penalties for violating the general federal bribery provisions of Section 201(b) include payment of a fine in an amount equal to up to three times the value of the bribe, imprisonment for up to 15 years, and disqualification from holding any federal office of honor, trust or profit.
Penalties for violations of other federal bribery laws vary depending on the statute. For instance, the penalty for offering to make a payment in exchange for using influence to procure an appointment in a federal office includes a fine and up to a year of imprisonment (18 U.S.C. §210). The penalty for conspiring to influence the outcome of a sporting contest with the use of bribery is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison as well as a fine. (18 U.S.C. §224) Contact a South Carolina federal bribery lawyer for more insight and information.
When dealing with an offense with penalties this severe, it is important to make sure your rights are protected. A South Carolina federal bribery lawyer who understands federal procedures and statutes can provide the right representation and advocate on your behalf to reach the reach the best possible outcome. A seasoned attorney can provide you with the appropriate consultation to make your defense as strong as possible. Call now to put our experience to work for you.