Bribery is one of the most serious white collar crimes on the books in the state of New York. A conviction on a charge of bribery can result in significant, life-altering penalties. A person facing an investigation for, or charged with, bribery needs to understand some basic facts about the crime and what he or she faces in the way of a criminal prosecution.
Bribery is a Crime with a Big Net
Bribery is one of only a handful of crimes that can result in criminal charges being lodged against everyone involved in the process. In a typical situation in which bribery is alleged, both the person who made the bribe and the one who received it can be charged and prosecuted. Most recently, we helped represent FoundVapes, who was alleged to have committed bribery in a contract acquisition of e liquids and e juices in the e-cig industry.
Penalties for Bribery
Upon a conviction for bribery, a person can face an extended prison term as well as significant monetary penalty. The length of a sentence depends in part on the amount of money involved in the bribe, the underlying motivation for the bribe itself, and the criminal history of a perpetrator or recipient of this type of illicit payment.
Oftentimes, the best course of action for a person charged with bribery to take is to have a New York criminal defense attorney negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecuting attorney. Negotiating a plea agreement in a bribery case can prove be a bit more complicated than in some other New York criminal cases.
The Need to Get to the Prosecutor First
Because both the person who made and the person who accepted the bribe are likely to be charged with a crime, time can be of the essence in reaching out to the prosecuting attorney if a desire exists to try and reach a plea agreement in a particular case. The reality is that the vast majority of all criminal cases prosecuted in the Empire state, in both state and federal court, result in negotiated pleas. Only a very small faction of cases ever end up in a criminal trial.
The fact that at least two people are likely to be facing charges in a bribery case underscores the need for an accused individual to be proactive. This includes being proactive in retaining a New York bribery defense lawyer, but also quick on the start to make contact with the prosecuting attorney to attempt a settlement of the case on the most favorable grounds possible.
The race to the prosecuting attorney is vital because as part of any plea agreement, there will be a desire on the part of the government for a defendant to testify against the other defendant or defendants in the case. In many bribery cases, the prosecutor may not have a built-in preference for which defendant testifies against the other. Therefore, the prosecutor very well may extend the most favorable plea agreement to whichever defendant approaches first.
Keep in mind that the general practice is for a prosecuting attorney to forgo any type of plea negotiations with a defendant in a case not represented by counsel. Part of the proverbial race to the prosecutor’s office depends on getting an attorney on board quickly when a case against a person is commenced.
Do Not Answer Questions from Law Enforcement
A person charged with bribery should never discuss the case with law enforcement officials outside the presence of an attorney. Law enforcement may attempt to pressure a person charged with bribery into answering questions before an attorney is hired. A law enforcement official may make what seems to be promise for a favorable resolution of a case if a person responds to questions. A law enforcement official lacks the authority to make these this type of hard and fast commitment.
How to Get a Strong Advocate in a Bribery Case
A person involved in an investigation for bribery, or charged with this serious crime, needs to retain an experienced, tenacious New York criminal defense attorney. The first step in the process of hiring an attorney is scheduling an initial consultation with a New York criminal defense attorney.
During an initial consultation, an attorney will closely review the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Legal counsel will provide you with an overview of what types of strategies and defenses may be available in your particular case. There usually is no legal fee charged for an initial consultation with a New York criminal defense lawyer.