In Florida, commercial bribery falls directly within the laws that criminalize white collar crimes. Those accused of commercial bribery face third-degree felony charges, so if you are being investigated for this or any other type of white collar crime, it is essential to retain an experienced white collar crime attorney. You are well versed in state law and can ensure that your rights are aggressively defended.
Definition of Commercial Bribery
Under Florida law, a person may be charged with commercial bribery if he or she offers, confers, or agrees to grant a benefit to another person with the intent to influence that person’s decision. Furthermore, a person can only be charged with a commercial bribe if the person who received the offer had a legal duty, which was violated, and the person offering the bribe knew of that obligation. 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;
- Referees, regulators and other neutral mediators.
Most commercial bribery charges involve situations in which a person is accused of bribing agents or employees of potential buyers in order to gain an advantage over a competitor. Those convicted of commercial bribery face up to five years in prison and a $ 5,000 fine. In some cases, you may also be charged under federal law, which prohibits the use of mail or technology to offer or accept bribes.
Bribing Public Officials
Those whose business relationships put them in contact with public officials may also face general bribery charges if they are accused of trying to influence those people by offering money or other benefits in exchange for favorable action. Most of these charges involve situations in which a contractor offered monetary compensation to a government official to win a bid for a government contract. These crimes are charged as second degree crimes, which are sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
Bribing a federal public official can also lead to federal bribery charges if the person who was offered the bribe is:
- An agent acting on behalf of the government;
- A federal employee;
- A witness in federal proceedings;
- A jury in federal proceedings;
- A bank official;
- An individual in charge of a sporting event that affects interstate commerce;
- Port security or US Customs employees;
A federal bribery conviction could mean a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine equal to three times the amount of the bribe offered or accepted.
Call an Experienced White Collar Crime Lawyer
If you have been accused of commercial bribery or bribery of a public official, you will need the advice and guidance of an experienced attorney. If you have been accused of bribery, please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, PA Criminal Defense Attorneys at (305) 670-9919 today to discuss your case with a dedicated Florida white collar crime attorney.