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  • Can You Be Arrested for Bribery?

    Posted on by JACK MKHITARIAN

    briberyEveryone has committed bribery at least once in his or her lifetime. However, the severity of that act may vary.

    After all, as a child, you might be bribed by your parent to eat your dinner in exchange for a dessert. While some acts of bribery will never involve law enforcement or the criminal justice system, other forms of corruption will.

    Bribery is defined as the act of giving or offering something in return for something else. It is the intentional act of giving or offering something to influence another party favorably.

    Bribes are Not Just Cash

    Many assume that bribery only involves cash. However, it can also involve the exchange of gifts, awards, and even government contracts. Bribery is a serious problem in the United States, which is why many states are enacting anti-corruption laws.

    Bribery and Corruption Laws of New Mexico

    In the state of New Mexico, several anti-corruption laws will affect bribery charges. For starters, the Model Program for Corporation Integrity created an interpretation of Articles 21 and 25 for the General Law of Administrative Responsibilities. This new system was implemented in July 2016, but it went into full effect July 2017.

    The law specifically focuses on public officials and corporations that are bribing government officials in exchange for more favorable terms.

    Furthermore, New Mexico statutes in Chapter 30, Article 24, focus on bribery. Bribery of a public officer, official, or even a witness is illegal in this state.

    Do the Proper Elements Exist?

    While one could be arrested for bribery, successfully convicting them requires that specific items be present.

    1. An agreement for the exchange of something of value must be present. An exchange is not bribery unless there is something of value exchanged in return for an agreement. For example, bribing in exchange for political influence with a sum of money, or another item of value, would constitute bribery. No written agreement is necessary.
    2. The person being bribed is of public office or general value. The person being bribed must be a civil servant or an elected official of some sort.
    3. The thing of value must be present. The item of value that is exchanged must be present or given to the party being bribed. This includes both tangible and intangible items.
    4. There must be an official act influenced by the bribe. The official action can be anything from impacting a pending legislation, to a judge purposely throwing a criminal case.
    5. The person being bribed must have the authority to commit the act. Bribery is not bribery if the party that has been bribed does not have the authority or power to commit the exchanged act. For example, bribing someone that cannot swing a vote on a piece of legislation is not bribery, because that party cannot commit the act they are paid for.
    6. Establishing the causal connection between payment and act. This is the hardest part for prosecutors; proving that there is a link between the act and the item of value that was exchanged. They must prove that the payment and act are more than a suspicious coincidence and that the payment actually influenced the act.

    Arrested or Accused of Bribery? Speak with an Attorney Today.

    The penalty for corruption in the state depends on the extent of the bribe – and ultimately the nature of the exchanged-for act. However, the accusation of bribery alone is still quite serious. It can permanently tarnish your reputation, and it could affect your professional and political aspirations.

    If you have been arrested for bribery, contact an attorney from the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices. We understand the seriousness of these charges, and we are here to defend you aggressively.

    Speak with us today for a free case evaluation at 505-375-4664 or request your consultation online.