Bribery in Baldwin County
Not all crimes involve violence or taking someone else’s property. Bribing an official is also a crime in Alabama, even if nothing comes of it. In fact, even offering to bribe an official can be charged as a violation of the law in Baldwin County.
Because bribery law can be triggered so easily, you may be accused of breaking the law without even being sure of what it is you allegedly did wrong. Fortunately, situations like these are exactly what experienced criminal defense attorneys handle every day. Hiring an experienced Baldwin County bribery lawyer to help you contest such accusations could help you ensure the prosecution respects your rights and perhaps facilitate a positive resolution to your case.The Crime of Bribing an Official
In Baldwin County, Alabama Code § 13A-10-61 specifically labels bribery as a criminal offense. This statute defines bribery for both people who are offering it and for public servants who are receiving it.
Importantly, this particular law only addresses conduct that involves public servants. In this context, “public servants” are government employees or officers—like lawmakers, judges, or government advisors—regardless of whether they are in an elected office, were appointed to that office, or if they are about to take over an office in the government.Offering and Receiving a Bribe
People may run afoul of this law by offering anything of value to a public servant, with the intention that the gift influences the official’s actions. However, offering a gift is not a bribe if it does not implicate work or decisions made outside of a public servant’s official capacity.
Alabama’s bribery laws also regulate public servants who receive gifts that they understand are for the purpose of influencing their official conduct. A Baldwin County bribery lawyer could provide further clarification about how courts typically treat charges of this nature and how they define this particular offense.A Change in Position is not Necessary
One of the most important aspects of bribery from a prosecutorial standpoint is that the public servant in question does not have to change their official stance on a policy or decision for someone to be convicted on bribery charges. The existence of a gift that someone offered and someone else accepted can be enough to support a conviction for bribery against a public servant, so long as the official understood that the gift was meant to influence them.
When law enforcement presses a bribery charge against the person offering the bribe, on the other hand, the gift does not even need to be accepted. Simply making the offer with the intent that it influences a public servant may suffice for a conviction. In fact, a gift can amount to bribery even if the public servant does not have the jurisdiction or the power to uphold their end of the bargain.Penalties for Bribery Convictions
In Baldwin County, bribery is a Class C felony. A conviction may come with a jail sentence of between one and ten years, as well as a fine of up to $15,000. Additionally, there are often collateral consequences of a conviction for bribery.
Anyone convicted of offering a bribe to a public servant would have to deal with having a serious blemish on their criminal background. This can make it more difficult to land a job that requires upstanding behavior and may affect other rights and privileges, such as the right to vote or hold public office.
For public officials found guilty of accepting a bribe, a conviction would almost certainly lead to the loss of their government position. Furthermore, they would have to live with a serious blemish on their reputation for as long as they are active in politics or government work. These extenuating consequences underscore the potentially critical role a bribery lawyer in Baldwin County could play in helping someone accused of this crime defend themselves in court.Consulting a Baldwin County Bribery Attorney
If you were accused of bribing a public servant in Baldwin County or are facing allegations that you received a bribe in your official capacity, hiring a Baldwin County bribery lawyer could be the best way to ensure you can protect your rights and effectively challenge the prosecutor’s case in court.
Even if you have not been charged with any crime yet, consulting a skilled attorney and discussing your situation could provide the information you need to make the right decision and help you get out ahead of whatever comes next. Call today to schedule an initial consultation and get started on your case.