Accepting anything of value in exchange for your influence is called bribery. Bribes may be taken by public officials or government officials to use their office as a way to make illegal money. Bribes are not always in the form of cash. In most cases, other tangible things like gifts are used to bribe officials with power. Prosecutors do not require a written agreement to prove that bribery has taken place but they must establish the intent of both parties. Both the offering and receiving party are held liable and charged with bribery.
The prosecution faces difficulties when it comes to proving the bribery charges in court. The proceedings are often complicated because several details are scrutinized before the judge reaches a verdict. In the case of federal employees, the government has established particular elements of a bribery charge that the prosecution must successfully prove.
- The individual involved must hold a public office.
- There exists an "official act" that may be affected by the receipt of a bribe.
- The public official should have the power to make the changes to the official act.
- Something tangible must be offered to the public official.
- Intent must be established, and a connection should be made between the bribe and the intent of both parties.
- An official act should be influenced because of the bribe in question.
If you hold a public office, being charged with bribery can lead to severe consequences. The government does not take bribery lightly and you might want to consider hiring experienced legal counsel to defend you. Your attorney will assess your case and come up with a strong defense strategy for you.