In general, bribery includes offering someone, who is often a public official, money or some other benefit in exchange for using their discretion to benefit the individual offering the bribe in some way. Likewise, bribery also is an offense committed by a public official or other person with a legal or public duty to provides services when he or she agrees to accept or accepts a bribe. Under Tex. Pen. Code § 36.02, bribery occurs when individuals intentionally offer, confer, or agree to confer on another, or solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept from another:
· Any benefit as consideration for the recipient’s vote, decision, or recommendation as a public servant, party official, or voter,
· Any benefit as consideration for the recipient’s decision or vote in a judicial or administrative proceeding,
· Any benefit as consideration for a public servant or party official to violate a duty, or
· Political contributions pursuant to an agreement to take or withhold a specific exercise of official discretion, which otherwise the recipient would not have taken or withheld
This offense covers a broad variety of situations, including offering a police officer money when pulled over for speeding in exchange for giving you a warning rather than a ticket, or threatening to harm a witness if he or she testifies in a court proceeding. Bribery is a second-degree felony under Texas law.
Texas law provides for various other criminal offenses that are similar to and often occur in conjunction with bribery. These offenses include coercion of public servants or voters, improper influence, tampering with a witness, and obstruction or retaliation. These offenses vary in severity from Class A misdemeanors for coercion of a voter to second-degree felonies for individuals who harm or threaten harm jurors or inflict bodily injury on public servants or their household members.
The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges, including charges involving bribery. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today.