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Bribery accusations? What constitutes a bribe?

If you're facing a bribery charge, it may have come as a surprise -- especially if you never offered money to influence someone to do you a "favor." However, bribery accusations don't always involve money. Bribery can be the acceptance or offering of anything that has value in exchange for a favor from a government or public official or employee.

Still, even if you have been accused of offering or accepting a bribe, it doesn't mean you're guilty of the offense. This article will review the elements of bribery that need to be present for a conviction to occur.

Elements required for a bribery conviction

On a fundamental level, bribery is simple. It merely means that someone offered money or something of value in exchange for a favor or influence, or it could mean that someone accepted money or something of value in exchange for doing a favor or providing influence. In this respect, both the briber and the individual who accepts a bribe could be charged with this crime.

Here are the elements required to convict someone of bribery under federal law:

  • The person who accepted or could have taken the bribe was a public official.
  • The bribing person offered something of value.
  • An official act occurred that the bribe could have influenced.
  • The public official in question had the power and authority to carry out the official act.
  • The intent of the bribing party to achieve a desired result through the bribe can be established.
  • A causal connection exists between the payment of the thing of value and the official act. A conviction will not occur if there is only the suspicion of a connection.

Were you accused of bribery?

Being accused of bribery or other white collar crimes doesn't have to result in a conviction. Every New Jersey resident facing criminal accusations -- no matter how serious the charges and no matter how convincing the evidence -- will have the chance to defend him- or herself in court. Furthermore, you will remain innocent of the crimes in the eyes of the law until -- and only if -- you are proved to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.

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