Bribery, under Virginia state and federal law, is the act of trying to persuade a person in the position of authority within the government to act in a certain way that is favorable to an individual by promising or offering something of value to that person. Essentially, bribery is when someone tries to shape public policy or something within the government by offering an exchange of money, goods, or services.
Conviction of bribery or another federal crime can lead to lengthy prison sentences and a criminal record that may hamper someone’s professional future. A bribery conviction can have a significant impact on your reputation, damaging your credibility and negatively altering perceptions of your professional integrity.
If you have been accused of offering or accepting a bribe, you should protect yourself from unnecessary legal and personal consequences by hiring an aggressive Virginia Federal bribery attorney who has demonstrated success defending clients against bribery charges in Virginia.
Bribery is generally defined as demanding, receiving, soliciting or offering something of value for the purpose of influencing someone’s actions while acting within their official duty. If a person offers someone money in exchange for an unlawful act to be carried out under their professional duties, they could be charged with bribery.
On the other hand, if they are an official and they accept a bribe in exchange for favors, they could also be charged. Though bribery often relates to elected and/or government officials offering or receiving money, assets, or even a position in return for a professional favor, this is not always the case. An experienced Virginia federal bribery attorney will have handled the defense in countless criminal cases, which means that they can build a strong defense for individuals facing charges.
Federal bribery can also constitute the procurement of business with the government. If a contractor, for example, was to take the director of a government agency on a fancy trip and then a week later that contractor was awarded a major contract within that department, it would look quite suspicious and attract attention. There would be allegations that the contractor won through bribery. There are a lot of different things that can constitute bribery but at its base level, it is the promise or exchange of something of value with the anticipated return of something beneficial done by the government.
There is no limit to the kinds of things that could be exchanged, whether it is monetary, physical property, services, or travel. All of those things constitute an exchange of value. If that exchange of value is accompanied by the intent or agreement to provide consideration on the part of the government as a direct result of the exchange of value, then those can all be charged with bribery.
If a prosecutor sees a circumstance in which the thing of value is given to a person in a position of power only to find that the person receiving it does something else favorable on behalf of the government for the person who gave the thing of value, it is going to appear to be a bribe. The parties involved in such a transaction are careful to avoid the appearances of impropriety and need to take great strides to insulate themselves in those individual transactions when looking as though they are connected. Determining the difference between a gift and a bribe is a crucial factor in a Virginia federal bribery charge.
Under federal law, the term public official can mean a member of Congress, any governmental elected official, as well as an officer, employee, or person acting on behalf of the United States in any department, agency, or branch of government in any official function. This includes civilians or contractors who are not direct government employees but are categorized as public officials because they are given the authority by a department, agency, or branch of government.
The definition of a public official in federal law is broad and can mean just about any person who works for the federal government in any capacity and is granted some sort of decision-making process, whether or not they are in office. Those individuals can be considered public under federal law and be charged with any sort of federal bribery in the state of Virginia.
A federal criminal charge such as bribery is a serious and potentially life-altering matter. A proactive criminal defense that is experienced in defending against bribery charges can assist you in minimizing the potential impact such charges can have on your personal and professional life. A Virginia federal bribery lawyer can help you determine the best course of action given the specific situation, and will fight for you.