Fulton County Bribery Lawyer
Most people are familiar with the concept of bribery, which is a criminal offense under Georgia law. The penalties for engaging in any aspect of bribery can be severe. Contacting a Fulton County bribery lawyer when facing these criminal charges is the most effective way to work toward avoiding a conviction.
State bribery statutes provide for various circumstances in which you may encounter criminal charges for bribery. Whether you are accused of receiving a bribe or offering a bribe, you can face bribery charges in either circumstance. Enlisting the assistance of one of our experienced attorneys at Hawkins Spizman will allow you to build a strong defense to the charges against you.
Types of Bribery Under Georgia Law
O.C.G.A. § 16-10-2 defines bribery as occurring when individuals give or offer to provide any government officials or employees a benefit or thing of value to influence them in their official duties. Likewise, if government officials suggest, solicit, receive, or agree to receive a benefit or thing of value in exchange for some favorable exercise of their official discretion or actions, they commit bribery.
This statute applies to government officials and employees at all levels, including local and state government. It typically does not apply to federal officials, simply because federal law makes bribery a crime that would be prosecuted in federal court. This statute also applies equally to hired employees, appointed officials, and elected officials.
A related but quite distinct offense is bribery of a contestant. Under this code section, individuals commit bribery of a contestant when they give, offer, or promise to provide money or other items of value to participants in amateur or professional athletic contests or sporting events. To commit this offense, they also must intend to cause the participants to lose, try to lose, or affect the margin of victory in one of these events.
Exceptions to State Bribery Laws
O.C.G.A. § 16-10-2 also lists specific items that government officials or employees may accept without fear of facing bribery charges. These items essentially allow these individuals to receive token or isolated gifts or benefits, even though bribery is a criminal offense.
Some of these items include one-time meals, food, or beverages, ceremonial awards, reimbursement of travel expenses, or gifts of less than $100. Other items that do not qualify as “things of value” include commercially reasonable loans in the ordinary course of business, family gifts, and income or benefits received from their private companies. For more information on whether a gift runs afoul of state bribery laws, getting the advice of a bribery lawyer may be wise.
Potential Penalties Following a Bribery Conviction
Bribery offenses are charged as a felony under state law. A bribery conviction carries the potential for a prison sentence of one to 20 years and a $5,000 fine. A conviction for bribery of a contestant can result in a prison sentence ranging from one to five years and a fine ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
A criminal felony conviction can have several adverse consequences. It creates a criminal record accessible to potential employers, schools, and the public-at-large. The conviction also may make individuals ineligible for some careers and professional licenses.
As a local bribery attorney can advise individuals with a felony conviction regarding the loss of some civil rights, such as possession of firearms. Due to these potential consequences, getting legal advice can be essential to a positive result.
Meet with a Fulton County Bribery Attorney for Guidance
Bribery is a serious criminal offense that can result in a felony conviction. Minimizing the impact of a conviction or avoiding it altogether may be possible with the assistance of a Fulton County bribery lawyer at Hawkins Spizman. Together, we can work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
When you are facing felony charges, the stakes are high. Instead of taking a considerable risk by proceeding on your own, get the advice that you need from a knowledgeable criminal attorney today.