Atlanta Bribery Lawyer

Bribery charges, which often involve politicians, elected officials, and government employees, tend to result in high-profile criminal cases. The penalties for a bribery conviction can be severe and often lead to the loss of careers and professional licenses. If you are accused of this offense, you may need to consult an Atlanta bribery lawyer.

In many cases, bribery charges are based on one point of view. These cases are fact-dependent and can result from miscommunication, misunderstandings, or similar situations. If you are facing bribery charges, contacting a criminal lawyer can be crucial to a positive resolution to your situation.

Bribery of Government Officials or Employees

Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 16-10-2, bribery always involves items of value or consideration to which government officials or employees are not otherwise entitled. The actions that constitute bribery must directly relate to the performance of official acts or decision-making power of government officials or employees. Bribery may occur in either of the following situations:

  • Individuals give or offer to provide government officials or employees something of value to influence their official actions or decisions
  • Government officials or employees solicit, take, or agree to take things of value to influence their official acts or decisions

Whether appointed or elected, government officials and employees of all political subdivisions, including local and state governments, are subject to bribery laws. Federal officials are not subject to these laws, but similar federal bribery laws do apply to them. Due to the potential severity of these charges, consulting a nearby bribery lawyer may be wise.

Defining Things of Value

Although O.C.G.A. § 16-10-2 does not explicitly define the “things of value” or considerations that would trigger bribery charges against individuals, it does enumerate some specific items that are not “things of value.” Neither offering these items to government officials and employees nor their acceptance would result in bribery charges under state law. These items include:

  • Food or drinks provided at an event
  • Expenses for food, drinks, travel, hotels, and registration at meetings at which individuals are participating or speaking
  • Gifts valued at less than $100
  • Salary, benefits, or fees from the nonpublic business or profession of the individuals

Similarly, individuals may receive awards, plaques, and mementos to recognize their service activities, promotional items that the public or private officials routinely receive, and food or beverages provided in the ordinary course of social or business events. Gifts from immediate family members of public officials cannot be the subject of a criminal bribery charge. The involvement of any of these “things of value” concerning a bribery charge may allow an attorney in the area to build a strong defense.

Punishment for State Bribery Convictions

Bribery is a felony offense that can result in a prison sentence ranging from one to 20 years. A person convicted of bribery may be subject to a fine of up to $5,000. A felony conviction also results in the forfeiture of some civil rights, such as the right to possess firearms.

Since bribery charges often are directly tied to the government positions or employment of individuals, a conviction for this offense also can lead to a loss of that position or job. In many cases, a convicted individual may no longer work for governmental units or hold political positions. A felony conviction can also affect professional licenses and certifications.

Seek Out an Atlanta Bribery Attorney for Advice

Bribery is a criminal offense that can result in multiple unwanted repercussions for your professional and personal life. You could face incarceration and the loss of your career if convicted. Talking to an Atlanta bribery lawyer may be the most effective first step when faced with these accusations.

Contacting legal counsel early in the criminal process can be critical to a successful outcome. All too often, individuals hesitate to get legal advice or protect their legal rights when confronted with criminal accusations. By enlisting the help of an experienced legal advocate from the outset of your case, you may work toward a better resolution. Call today to get started on your case.