Bribery Conviction in Florida
Across the country, it is increasingly common for Americans to hear about public officials who have been charged with bribery. However, few Americans grasp the severity of this criminal act. It is one of the easiest crimes to turn a blind eye to and call it a “victimless crime”, although this could not be further from the truth, and the state of Florida carry’s extremely harsh penalties for those convicted of bribery. In Florida, it is illegal to offer or receive bribes. Those convicted of bribery in Florida can potentially face fines and lengthy prison sentences. Thus, if you are being investigated for bribery it is wise that you immediately reach out to an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Under Florida law bribery is defined as knowingly offering, promising, or giving a benefit to an individual in public office in order to influence how the individual makes decisions or performs their public duty. While it is illegal to attempt to bribe an individual, it is also illegal for a government employee or public official to solicit or request a bribe. Bribery is considered a second-degree felony, those convicted of bribery are subject to hefty fines and up to 15 years in prison. The Florida legal system takes bribery allegations extremely seriously, in fact, the state makes it relatively simply for prosecutors to convict a defendant of bribery. The following are some common facts that the prosecution does not need to prove when trying to convict someone of bribery:
- The issue at hand was within the defendant’s jurisdiction;
- The defendant’s action was necessary to achieve the other individual’s desired outcome;
- Whether the defendant had or had not already assumed office;
- Whether the defendant was qualified/had the power to act in the manner for which they were being bribed.
Bribery in Business
While it is the most common to hear of cases where government officials were accused of taking bribes, this is certainly not the only area where individuals are prosecuted for offering/accepting bribes. Florida law also prohibits offering or accepting bribes to anyone in a position that has a common law duty to uphold. In the state of Florida, commercial bribery is considered a third-degree felony and those convicted of this charge can face fines and a prison sentence of up to five years. An individual in the business sector can be charged with bribery if the individual fulfills one of the following roles:
- A lawyer, physician, accountant, or value appraiser;
- Licensed professional advisors;
- A company’s director, manager, partner, or officer;
- An arbitrator or hired “neutral” third party;
- An employee or agent;
- A trustee or guardian.
Reach Out to Us for Help
Any white collar criminal charge should be taken seriously and dealt with swiftly. The consequences associated with even a minor conviction can have devastating effects on the course of your life. Thus, if you are being investigated for a white collar crime it is critical that you immediately reach out to a white collar criminal defense lawyer. At the Baez Law Firm we understand the serious nature of white collar criminal charges and have the knowledge and expertise to effectively advocate on your behalf. If you are in need of defense call 800-588-BAEZ now for a free consultation.