NYC Bribery Lawyer

NYC Bribery Lawyer


Bribery is the offer or acceptance of anything of value in exchange for influence on a government official or employee. Bribes often take the form of gifts, monetary payments, property, various goods, privileges, services, or other favors, in exchange for favorable treatment. 

Bribes are always intended to influence or alter the action of an individual for the briber’s benefit. Often, bribery is an element of political and public corruption.

In most situations, both the person offering the bribe and the person accepting can be charged. 

Bribery is often confused with the crime of extortion, but the two are different: bribing involves offering a positive reward for compliance, as opposed to extortion, which involves threats of violence or other acts in exchange for compliance. 

Examples of bribery

Bribery can happen in many different ways and circumstances. Athletes and their handlers can offer an opponent a payoff to deliberately lose (or win) a match or game, or a gambler may pay a player to shave points off during a game so their team loses. A company could bribe rival employees for recruitment services, or a witness or an individual arrested for a crime could bribe a cop to keep quiet about a criminal act or detail relevant to an investigation. 

Even when public officials are involved, a bribe doesn’t need to be harmful to the public good in order to be illegal

Elements involved

Federal prosecutors need to only prove the following elements to secure a conviction on federal bribery charges:

  1. The individual being bribed is a “public official,” which can include federal employees and elected officials;
  2. A “thing of value” has been offered, and it could be tangible (like money) or intangible (like the promise of influence or official support)
  3. There’s an “official act” that may be influenced by a bribe (like pending legislation that may impact the person offering the bribe)
  4. The public official being bribed has the authority or power to commit the official act (like voting a certain way on a piece of legislation)
  5. There must be intent on the part of the bribing party in order to get a desired result (like giving an envelope of cash to an elected official to vote a certain way)
  6. The prosecution must establish a  connection between the payment and the act, meaning there must be more than just a suspicious coincidence

Generally, no written agreement is required to prove the crime of bribery, but a prosecutor must prove corrupt intent. 

NY Statute

In New York State, bribery in the third degree involves conferring, offering, or agreeing to confer any benefit upon a public servant upon an agreement or understanding that the public servant’s vote, opinion, judgment or other action as a public servant will be influenced. This is a class D felony. 

Second degree bribery involves the same actions but includes a monetary amount in excess of five thousand dollars to be given to the public official. This is a class C felony. 

First degree bribery involves the same actions, but with any monetary value in excess of one hundred thousand dollars to a public official. This is a class B felony. 

There is a potential for serious jailtime if convicted of any bribery offense.  That’s why it is imperative to reach out to a criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate the criminal arena in the event you are arrested or at risk of being arrested for such a crime.