Since New York City—and for the most part, Manhattan specifically—is the financial capital of the United States and arguably the world, both state and federal law enforcement authorities take allegations of bribery seriously here. Anyone who makes or accepts a bribe in the state of New York may find themselves facing felony charges, with increasingly severe penalties possible for bribes of higher financial value and/or involving certain conditions.
No matter what type of bribery you are being investigated for, you should contact a Manhattan bribery lawyer as soon as possible to begin planning your case defense. Prosecutors pursuing bribery charges tend to have extensive documentary and testimonial evidence on their side, and you may have slim odds of overcoming such strong opposition without assistance from a seasoned criminal defense attorney.
How State Law Defines Bribery Offenses
New York Penal Law defines three degrees of “bribery” and “bribe receiving.” This respectively refers to the act of offering money, a service, or something else of value in exchange for privileged action or discretion from a public servant; and the act of soliciting or accepting any such benefit in exchange for privileged action or discretion as a public servant. It is worth reiterating that a bribe does not necessarily have to actually take place in order for a criminal case to proceed. Anyone who attempts to facilitate a bribe has committed a crime under state law.
Bribery in the Third Degree
As per New York Penal Law §§ 200.00 and 200.10, making or accepting any form of bribe as defined above is considered bribery in the third degree, a Class D non-violent felony punishable by up to seven years of probation or imprisonment for a first conviction.
Bribery in the Second Degree
N.Y.P.L. §§ 200.03 and 200.11 define the provision or solicitation of any bribe valued at more than $5,000 as Class C non-violent felony second-degree bribery, a first conviction for which could result in a maximum prison or probation term of 15 years.
Bribery in the First Degree
Finally, N.Y.P.L. §§ 200.04 and 200.12 define first-degree bribery—a Class B felony that allows for a maximum 25-year prison term for a first offense—as a person offering or soliciting a bribe whose financial value exceeds $100,000, or a bribe expressly meant to influence any part of the criminal justice process.
As a Manhattan bribery attorney could explain, enhanced maximum penalties and mandatory minimum sanctions may be applicable in situations where a defendant has been convicted of a non-violent or violent felony prior to being arrested on charges of bribery.
Federal Bribery Charges in Manhattan
Any allegation of bribery in Manhattan involving an employee or public servant of the federal government, or any bribery scheme that occurs across state lines, may result in prosecution under federal law rather than state law. According to 18 United States Code § 201, a conviction for a federal bribery crime may result in a fine equivalent to three times the financial value of the bribe in question, as well as a maximum term of 15 years in federal prison.
Notably, it is possible for someone to face bribery charges under both federal and state law at the same time, depending on the nature of their actions and the specific parties involved. A qualified Manhattan bribery lawyer’s representation can be especially crucial during cases of this nature.
Connect with a Manhattan Bribery Attorney Today
Bribery charges can be exceptionally difficult to contest at the state level and even more challenging when federal authorities are involved. Put simply, you have little chance of achieving a successful outcome in a situation like this if you try to fight your case without support from experienced legal counsel.
A dedicated Manhattan bribery lawyer could be the ally you need to effectively protect your interests and rights. Call today for a private consultation.