Facing any criminal charges is not something you should take lightly. However, some crimes are more severe than others, meaning the penalties are more harsh. One of these crimes that is often prosecuted harshly in Oklahoma is bribery. If charged with bribery, you’ll need to understand the penalties you can face. Keep reading to learn about the severity of this crime and how an Oklahoma City white-collar crime lawyer can help you navigate these charges.
What Warrants Bribery?
Any time you knowingly solicit or offer something in exchange for official action is considered a bribe. Generally, this is most common for those who hold public office or have a legal duty to uphold. Offering and accepting a bribe are both criminal offenses.
Most often, money is exchanged as a means to sway or influence, but assets like property, gifts, and other items of value can also be used to bribe officials.
For example, if a real estate developer offers a city councilman a percentage of the profits gained from the business they want to create in exchange for approval, this is considered bribery. As the elected official can be influenced by the promise of funds, they may agree to let the developer build a business even though they have doubts or concerns about the project.
What Are the Penalties for This Offense?
Oklahoma takes bribery of any kind very seriously. Offering or accepting a bribe are both considered felony charges in Oklahoma. As such, you can face between five and ten years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $5,000. If the entity involved is a public official, such as a school board member or judge, they will forfeit their seat and cannot hold another public office position.
What Should I Do if I’m Facing a Conviction?
If you are charged with bribery to any degree, ensuring you immediately contact an experienced attorney is essential. It cannot be stressed enough that these charges are severe. Though it does not seem as intense as drug trafficking, bribery is taken very seriously.
When you are facing charges, ensuring you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side is essential. They will work with you to explore all possible options to provide you with the best outcome for your circumstances. For example, you may not have had the intent to offer a bribe. To be convicted, it must be demonstrated that you had the intent to commit this offense. Similarly, if you were threatened by an employer to commit this offense, you can likely prove that you were under duress during this time.
If you’re in trouble, The Jones Law, PLLC can help. Our dedicated legal team will work tirelessly to help you achieve the best possible outcome for the charges you’re facing. Contact our office today to connect with a competent attorney.