National Criminal Defense Attorneys for Bribery Charges
Under 18 U.S.C. § 201, certain types of Bribery of a Public Official are punishable by imprisonment of up to 15 years.
For a variety of reasons, state and federal laws in the United States have strict prohibitions against using bribes to influence witnesses and government officials. Generally speaking, a bribe involves any monetary payment or other gift that is intended to change someone’s mind or make them feel compelled to act in a certain way. Bribery charges can be brought against both individuals and businesses, and a conviction can carry serious criminal and practical ramifications.
At the Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP, we provide experienced and strategic representation for clients accused of bribery. As experienced criminal defense lawyers, former federal prosecutors, and government officials, we are intimately familiar with the nation’s bribery laws. If you have been accused of making a bribe, our attorneys will fight vigorously to have your case dismissed.
Bribery comes in many forms. Due to the impact that bribery can have on our justice system and democracy, state and federal investigators are constantly on high alert for any inkling of an improper gift or financial support. As a result, you are likely to face bribery charges if you appear to be involved in activities such as:
- Paying to win a government contract
- Offering kickbacks to government officials
- Paying off an inspector or police officer to ignore a violation
- Giving stock to a government official or selling stock to an official at a discount
- Paying off a witness to testify on your behalf
- Funding a candidate’s reelection campaign in order to win influence over their decision-making
With bribery, the key element is intent. In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecutor will need to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt not only that you made gift or payment, but that you did so with the intent to influence the recipient’s actions or decisions. Intent is a specific requirement for conviction under the federal bribery law. While the law allows juries to infer intent in bribery cases based on a defendant’s conduct, our attorneys can present evidence and seek to discredit the government’s witnesses in order to have your case dismissed.
We also represent clients who have been accused of bribing foreign officials under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). If you are facing federal charges under the FCPA, we encourage you to contact us right away.
Defending Against Bribery Charges
While each case is unique, in many cases, we are able to present strong defenses for clients accused of bribing witnesses and federal officials. Some of the possible defenses to state and federal bribery charges include:
- Coercion – If you felt obligated to give a gift or pay money to a government official, we may be able to argue the defense of coercion.
- Entrapment – If you had no intention of making a bribe but were induced by a government official to make an improper gift or payment, we may be able to present the defense of entrapment in order to help you avoid criminal responsibility.
- Intoxication – In some jurisdictions, voluntary intoxication can be a defense to bribery. If you were too drunk to know what you were doing, we may be able to argue that you lacked the necessary criminal intent to make an illegal bribe.
- Lack of criminal intent – As we mentioned, the key to the prosecutor’s case will be proving that you intended to improperly influence an official act. If you gave an innocent gift, you did not commit a federal offense. We may be able to use the facts of your case to cast doubt on this key element and help you avoid conviction.
Bribery cases often hinge on evidence collected through surveillance and other secretive means. When investigating possible criminal activity, police officers and federal agents must do so in compliance with the Fourth Amendment. If the government’s evidence was obtained through unconstitutional means, we may be able to argue to have it suppressed. If there is no evidence, there is no case against you.
Penalties for Bribery Crimes
Under federal law, bribery carries penalties of up to fifteen years in prison, fines, and in some cases a disqualification from holding federal office. The fines can be the greater of the statutory maximum or three times the amount of the bribe. If you are under investigation or have been accused of bribery, you can contact us to learn more about your situation.
Contact Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP to Discuss Your Case
Bribery charges are often weeks, months, or even years in the making. If you are facing state or federal bribery charges, you need to act quickly in order to prepare the strongest possible defense. To speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney, call Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP at (800) 810-0259 or request a free case evaluation today.