Bribery is a white collar crime and a felony offense in New York State, meaning that you could go to prison upon conviction even if you previously had a clean record. If you are a public servant accused of accepting a bribe, then the potential consequences can be even worse than if you were in the commercial sector instead. Even if you never actually received any cash, favors, or items of value, you can still be charged.

Bribery in the Third Degree

You can be found guilty of Bribery in the Third Degree even if you simply agree or offer to provide a benefit to a public servant in exchange for influencing their actions, decisions, judgment, or vote. A conviction for this Class D felony can send you to a state prison for up to seven years.

Bribery in the Second Degree

A Class C felony that can send you to prison for up to 15 years, Bribery in the Second Degree (NYPL 200.03) is like the Third Degree counterpart in that you can be charged for merely offering a bribe to a public servant in exchange for a certain result. This crime is ‘bumped up’ to Bribery in the Second Degree if the value of the benefit offered exceeds $10,000.

Bribery in the First Degree

The most serious of all bribery offenses, Bribery in the First Degree occurs when you offer a benefit to a public servant in exchange for an agreed-upon outcome. In this respect, the premise is the same as Bribery in the Second Degree and Third Degree. The critical difference is that the favor demanded influences the outcome of a case where someone has allegedly committed a Class A felony. If convicted, then you could spend up to 25 years in prison.

18 U.S. Code Section Chapter 11 prohibits multiple bribery offenses involving government employees and/or elected representatives. While there are no federal statutes against commercial bribes between private commercial entities, New York state law addresses such transactions in Article 180 of the New York Penal Code, with activities like the following being punished as bribery crimes:

  • Kickbacks (illegal payments to someone who has facilitated a requested transaction)
  • Giving and receiving commercial bribes
  • Bribing a labor official
  • Sports bribery to influence the outcome of an event
  • Impairing the integrity of a pari-mutuel betting system
  • Rent gouging

If you are accused of bribery, then the effects can be disastrous for your personal and professional circumstances, so it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced New York criminal defense attorney immediately. Your attorney will review the case against you, challenge questionable evidence, and present a defense designed for the most favorable result. Call the Law Offices of Julie Rendelman, LLC if you were accused of bribery or another crime at 212-951-1232. Ms. Rendelman is an experienced New York City criminal defense attorney who has also worked as a prosecutor in the Kings County District Attorney’s office. She has extensive trial experience and offers free consultations.