What is considered to be a bribe?

We all want to get our way and experience favorable outcomes as much as possible. This often causes individuals to take additional steps to ensure that this course takes place. While this could be a valid and legal step to take in some cases, in others, it could be considered illegal. When an individual seeks to influence a government or public official or employee by providing gifts or money, this is considered bribery if it is in exchange for favorable treatment. Such conduct could result in a bribery charge.

What is considered to be a bribe? Bribes can include property, goods, privileges, services and favors, and they are always intended to influence or alter the conduct of individuals. In most cases, bribery goes hand in hand with both political and public corruption. Oftentimes, both the person offering the bribe and accepting the bribe will face charges of bribery.

A written agreement is not necessary for a bribe to exist or to prove that it took place. However, when an individual is charged with bribery, the prosecution is required to show corrupt intent. There are six elements to prove when it comes to a bribery charge.

First, the person being bribed must be a public official. Next, a thing of value must be offered. Third, there is an official act that could be influenced by a bribe. Next, the public official has the authority to commit the official act. Fifth, there must be intent by the bribing party to get a desired result. Finally, there must be a causal connection between the payment and the act.

Therefore, those facing bribery charges should understand their defense options. This could mean challenging one or more of these elements, providing or suppressing evidence that will make it impossible for the prosecution to meet these elements. This could ultimately help the defendant reduce or dismiss the charges against them.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Bribery," accessed Nov. 27, 2017

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