In Florida, bribery constitutes giving, offering, taking or promising something of value with the unlawful intention of corruption in exchange for a favor or a service. It is in the category of white-collar crimes. Moreover, the bribe can be money, gifts, property or privileges.
How to prove bribery
This offense falls under the White-Collar Crime Victim Protection Act, and the charges can be hard to prove because there is rarely an exchange of receipts or official documents. Therefore, the prosecutor must project the intention of bribery. Additionally, both parties who are involved in it may end up with criminal charges. Nonetheless, it will be crucial to verify an agreement to exchange a commodity of value for a valuable service or privilege.
Some of the ways that a bribery charge is proven include taping conversations and phone calls. Prosecutors might even use CCTV recordings or body camera videos.
The federal government has precise standards to meet in order to prove a bribery charge. Courts use the following criteria to prove whether the act involved is bribery:
- The prosecutor must prove that the connection between the exchange of money for a favor was really a bribe and not just a gift.
- The prosecution must assure the court that the defendant intended to bribe and got the desired outcome.
- There must be verifiable evidence that the person is authorized to perform any act to sway the opinion of others in a particular region. For example, the person is a holder of public office, like a senator, bribing people within the area where people voted for them.
- There must be a direct result of the bribe.
- There must be an exchange of a product or service of value for a favor.
Defending against bribery charges
Any individual caught in such circumstances should consult a criminal defense attorney in Florida. An attorney may be able to build a strong case to establish that the person did not intend to receive or give a bribe. The attorney may advise their client further on a suitable strategy for defense.