State and Federal Bribery Charges
In Florida, commercial bribery falls squarely within the laws criminalizing white collar offenses. Those who are accused of commercial bribery face third degree felony charges, so if you are being investigated for this, or another type of white collar crime, it is critical to retain an experienced white collar crime lawyer who is well-versed in state law and can ensure that your rights are aggressively defended.
Commercial Bribery Defined
According to Florida law, a person can be charged with commercial bribery if he or she offers, confers, or agrees to confer a benefit upon someone else with the intent to influence that person’s decision. Further, a person can only be charged with commercial bribery if the individual who received the offer had a legal duty, which was violated, and the person offering the bribe knew of that duty. This applies to individuals in the following positions:
- Agents or employees;
- Trustees or guardians;
- Lawyers, doctors, accountants, professional advisers, or appraisers;
- Officers, partners, managers, directors, or any other person involved in directing the affairs of an organization; and
- Arbitrators, referees, and other neutral adjudicators.
Most charges of commercial bribery involve situations where a person is accused of bribing the agents or employees of prospective buyers in order to gain an advantage over a competitor. Those who are convicted of commercial bribery face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. In some cases, the defendant can also be charged under federal law, which prohibits using the mail or technology to offer or accept bribes.
Bribing Public Officials
Those whose business dealings bring them into contact with public officials may also face general bribery charges if they are accused of trying to influence those individuals by offering money or other benefits in exchange for a favorable action. Most of these charges involve situations where a contractor offered a government official monetary compensation in order to win a bid for a government contract. These offenses are charged as second degree felonies, which are punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Bribing a federal public official can also lead to federal charges of bribery if the person who was offered the bribe is:
- An agent acting on behalf of the government;
- A federal employee;
- A witness in a federal proceeding;
- A juror in a federal proceeding;
- A bank official;
- An individual in charge of a sporting event that affects interstate commerce; and
- Port security or U.S. Customs employees.
Conviction for federal bribery could mean a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine equaling three times the amount of the offered or accepted bribe.
Call an Experienced White Collar Crime Lawyer
Whether you have been accused of commercial bribery or bribing a public official, you will need the advice and guidance of an experienced attorney. If you have been charged with bribery, please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorneys at 305-670-9919 today to discuss your case with a dedicated Florida white collar crime lawyer.