Bribery accusations are a very serious matter in South Carolina. Even if you have no history of criminal convictions or even charges, a single conviction under the state’s bribery statute could land you in prison for years, leave you facing overwhelming financial penalties, and very likely lead to the loss of certain rights as well.
In a situation like this, having help from a Greenville bribery lawyer like Christopher L. Jones could make a huge difference in your ability to secure the best possible resolution to your unique case. In addition to helping build and execute a comprehensive defense strategy, your skilled attorney could also work to minimize the effects this type of allegation may have on your personal and professional life. Call today to get started.
Defining Bribery in Greenville
There are a few different state statutes that may come into play during a bribery case depending on who is allegedly involved. For example, South Carolina Code of Laws §8-13-705 specifically addresses bribery of public employees, officials, and members of government bodies as well as bribery meant to influence witness testimony. Bribery of business employees or agents and bribery of athletic competitors or officials are separate offenses respectively addressed under S.C. Code §§16-17-540 and 16-17-550.
Regardless of the applicable section of state law, the core elements of a bribery offense are the same: an offer or promise of money or anything else of value made knowingly and with intent to influence someone improperly who owes a duty to others. This could be a public official who owes a duty to the public, or an employee who owes a duty to his employer. Both those who make bribes and those who solicit or accept them may be charged with and prosecuted for bribery under these statutes. Even the attempt to make such an arrangement is sufficient for a conviction, regardless of whether the bribe in question is ever paid or the favorable decision actually rendered.
State law does make exceptions for political contributions that are not “conditioned upon the performance of specific actions” and gifts between close relatives “for love and affection.” A Greenville bribery attorney could further explain how these charges work and answer questions about possible defense strategies.
Possible Penalties from a Conviction
Bribery charged and prosecuted under S.C. Code §16-17-540 is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year of jail time and a $500 fine. Both other forms of bribery, on the other hand, are felonies for which a conviction could lead to a five-year maximum term in prison plus a $10,000 fine.
In addition, anyone convicted of bribing a public official is permanently barred from ever holding public office in South Carolina again. Any person convicted of accepting a bribe as a public official automatically forfeits their position upon being found guilty. Because the potential repercussions of a bribery conviction in Greenville are so severe, it is crucial to work with a lawyer who has experience handling cases like these.
Speak with a Greenville Bribery Attorney Today
Bribery allegations can alter the course of your life at a moment’s notice, especially if you hold or are running for public office. Fortunately, it is possible to proactively contest accusations like this with help from an attorney who has handled similar situations successfully before.
A conversation with an experienced Greenville bribery lawyer could provide clarity about your rights and next best steps. Call today to set up your free initial consultation with Christopher L. Jones.