What does the prosecution have to prove to convict you of bribery?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2021 | Criminal Defense

In this country, criminal defendants are innocent until proven guilty. In other words, just because you have a criminal charge does not necessarily mean that that charge will become a conviction. In order to convict someone of allegedly engaging in bribery, the prosecution will have to present evidence in court to prove several specific elements.

The recipient is a government employee

Massachusetts law defines bribery as corruptly giving, offering, or promising something of value to a government employee for the purpose of influencing an act or decision.

This means that the recipient of a bribe must be a state, county or municipal employee, such as a judge, a senator or an inspector. This definition also applies to citizens designated by the government for specific roles, such as jury members and witnesses.

You offered something of value

The prosecutor must prove that you either gave something, offered something or promised something to the government employee. That thing must have real monetary value, or must otherwise be important to that employee.

Your intent

Lastly, the prosecutor must prove that you intended for the gift to be a bribe. In other words, they must prove that you intended for the government employee to take a specific action or make a specific decision that is within their power and authority.

For example, it is bribery for someone to give a judge or jury member a gift in exchange for holding a specific way in a lawsuit, or to give a state inspector a gift in order to ignore certain code violations.

It can be nerve-wracking to receive notice of impending criminal charges against you alleging bribery. The sooner you contact an attorney to begin preparing your defense, the more likely it is that you will be able to formulate a rock-solid defense to the charges to present in court.

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