Bribery is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official, or other person, in charge of a public or legal duty. Although the typical definition of bribery is well-known among many citizens, the different types of bribery are more elusive. There are six types of bribery:
- Bribery and Kickbacks. Bribery typically involves the transfer of favors or monetary compensation in exchange for a specific treatment in return. Texas laws regarding bribery and kickbacks are updated on a regular basis as their forms continue to change and evolve.
- Bribes and Public Officials. This type of bribery has become exceedingly common in the 21st century as the country’s two-party system continues to divide popular opinion. Texas Bribery Statutes state that any individual or party who directly or indirectly gives, offers, or promises something of value to a public official with the intent to influence their decisions may face bribery charges. Likewise, a public official may not accept, receive, or demand bribes in exchange for favorable decisions. If convicted of bribery or proposing a bribe, involved parties may face up to 15 years in prison and significant fines.
- Bribing of a Witness. As witness testimony carries significant weight in many court proceedings, witness tampering is not uncommon. Bribing a witness refers to offering a bribe to a witness in exchange for a specific testimony. If convicted of offering bribes to a witness, the offender faces up to two years in prison. Witnesses who demand bribes may also face significant fines and/or prison time.
- Bribing a Foreign Official. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act bans the act of bribing foreign officials by U.S. corporate representatives. Publicly-traded companies are required to keep extensive records of their business transactions in an attempt to dissuade these companies from engaging in official bribing. Despite best governmental efforts, international bribing still occurs and other forms of “grease payments” are inherently legal.
- Bank Bribery. The Bank Bribery Amendments Act of 1985 prohibits the solicitation of banking officials. These officials may not accept any form of alternate compensation from outside parties, including entertainment or meals. Banking officials are also obligated to report any attempted or offered bribes, regardless of acceptance.
- Sporting Bribes. Sporting bribes are also extremely common, especially in the sports gambling industry. A sporting official may not accept bribes in exchange for his or her influence on a sporting event outcome. Referees found guilty may face significant fines or up to five years in prison.
In a bribery case, the government bears a significant burden and must prove that all elements of the charge were met in the exchange. Bribery convictions typically depend on collected surveillance, recordings, and witness testimony. A single allegation of bribery may affect an individual’s professional reputation and livelihood as such a charge carries significant consequences. As a result, it is imperative that accused individuals seek the expertise of an criminal defense lawyer, like from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC. All individuals should avoid engaging in any form of bribery to lessen the risk of jail time and/or significant fines.