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Bribery, as it is commonly understood, involves the payment of money to a public official with the intent that this will influence their decisions. While this certainly qualifies as illegal under state law, the full definition of bribery is far more extensive. A court may convict a person of bribery for attempting to influence a commercial decision or a public officer.
A Scottsdale bribery lawyer represents those who have been accused of this crime. The diligent attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group work to help you understand why you are being charged with bribery and form defenses to protect your rights in court.
The classic definition of bribery is outlined in Arizona Revised Statute § 13-2602. This states that it is against the law for any person:
Importantly, it is equally illegal for a person to offer a bribe as it is to accept one.
It is also possible to offer or accept a bribe in the commercial world. AZ Rev. Stat. § 13-2605 defines the crime of receiving commercial bribery. Here, a person may face charges if:
For example, an employee could be accused of accepting a commercial bribe if they accept tickets to a sporting event from a vendor with the understanding that they will sabotage machinery in the workplace. Offering and receiving a commercial bribe are equally illegal. An experienced local attorney can discuss the exact nature of a person’s bribery charges and develop a potent defense.
As with any criminal accusation, the burden is on the prosecutor to prove the bribery charges beyond a reasonable doubt. The penalties can be harsh if a person is convicted of either form of bribery.
Receiving a commercial bribe is usually the lesser of the two offenses. The statute says a conviction is a class 5 felony if the money involved is less than $1,000. This means that a conviction can bring a minimum of six months in jail with mitigating circumstances, and up to 2.5 years if aggravating factors are present. This only applies if a defendant has no prior felony convictions. As the value of the supposed bribe increases, so do the potential penalties.
Bribery involving a public official is more serious. The statute classifies this crime as a class 4 felony in all examples. Mitigating factors may mean that a conviction results in a prison sentence as short as one year, while aggravating factors may lengthen a case to as long as 3.75 years. In these cases, it is crucial to work with a seasoned lawyer who handles bribery cases in Scottsdale and fight back against the charges.
Being accused of bribery can be a confusing and stressful experience. In many instances, a person is charged despite never actually exchanging anything of value. The District Attorney’s Office takes bribery allegations seriously and can work to obtain a conviction if they believe you attempted to bribe someone.
Whether you are accused of bribing a public official, accepting a bribe, or participating in a commercial bribe, the Grand Canyon Law Group can help. Our Scottsdale bribery lawyers work to thoroughly investigate the allegations and formulate an effective defense against the prosecutor’s case. The potential penalties for a conviction are severe, so don’t take any unnecessary chances. Contact our firm today to protect your way of life.