Bribery in Miami is a serious offense and is considered a crime involving moral turpitude. The definition under the law in Florida is attempting to influence the performance of a public official by offering, promising or agreeing to the exchange of goods, services and/or money. An example would be if an individual offered a judge some money to dismiss his case. Also, if a person offered "Officer Friendly" $100 to forget about the improper change of lane ticket, that would be bribery.
The penalty for bribery could be devastating and life-altering. In Florida, it's a second-degree felony, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine.
A pair of types of bribery crimes are referred to in federal law: bribery and corruption. The General Federal Bribery Law ("GFBS") describes bribery as anybody who gives, offers or provides something of value directly or indirectly to a public official with the purpose of influencing the actions of the public official. If convicted of a bribery charge in federal court, a person may receive several years in prison as well as significant fines that may vary based on the severity of the bribe. Anyone convicted of bribery or being prosecuted should contact a criminal lawyer who has experience in federal court cases.
There are several types of conduct that are outlawed by the GFBS. These include public officials manipulating the performance of any official act in violation of their official duty, anyone who bribes a public official with a criminal intent to influence the testimony of the official under oath, anyone who receives a bribe in return for giving influenced testimony under oath, anyone who offers a bribe for the performance of a certain public office.
Beyond the GFBS, other special bribery laws exist. Many of the special bribery provisions include bribery involving the selling and distributing of alcoholic drinks, bribery regarding bank examiners, bribery that involves loans or other financial transactions, and bribery pertaining to public office appointees.
Although attempting to bribe a person is illegal, soliciting or asking for a bribe is also illegal for a government employee or a public official. Most public servants are not permitted to accept gifts from members of the public to prevent the illusion that the power is being purchased. Gifts that are allowed must be declared to be public knowledge, should anyone ask. Florida's legal system takes bribery charges exceedingly seriously and the state makes convicting a suspect of bribery fairly easy for prosecutors. The following are a few important facts that the prosecution is not required to prove should it attempting to accuse someone of corruption:
- The problem at hand had been under the jurisdiction of the defendant.
- Action by the defendant was required to obtain the desired outcome of the other party.
- That the defendant was eligible or had the ability to behave in the way they had been bribed for.
Although learning of cases where government officials have been accused of taking bribes happens quite often, it is not the only place where individuals are punished for offering / accepting bribes. Florida law also forbids bribes being given or accepted to someone in a position that has an obligation to uphold common law. Commercial bribery is considered a third-degree crime in the state of Florida and those convicted of this offense may receive fines and up to five years in jail. Bribery can be levied on an individual in the business sector if the individual fulfills certain roles. These may include physicians, trustees, an arbitrator, and lawyers, to name a few.
The general information provided above about bribery in Fort Lauderdale is meant for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for speaking directly with an attorney about the facts and circumstances of your case. Please call 954.500.0003 in Broward or 305.674.0003 in Miami to schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Mark Eiglarsh.