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How Bribery is Defined and Punished in Arizona

Bribery is one of the various types of white collar crimes Arizona residents can be accused of and charged with. This crime involves offering something a value (a bribe) to someone in a position of power in order to influence that person's actions or decisions in his or her official role. This crime requires that the person giving or accepting the bribe does so with "corrupt intent." This means that a person cannot be convicted of bribery for a benefit that is given purely out of good will, without expectation of a reciprocating action. Bribery is taken very seriously and can be prosecuted at both the state and the federal level.

There are many ways that bribery can occur. Arizona Revised Statutes §13-2602 through §13-2606 outline these various forms of bribery. In one of those forms, bribery occurs when a person tries to influence a public servant or public official's actions by offering a particular incentive. This might be a vote, a judgment, an act of discretion or other actions. On the other end of the spectrum, someone in one of these official positions can engage in bribery if he or she seeks, accepts or agrees to accept any such incentive (which is the bribe itself). Bribery involving a public servant is considered a Class 4 felony, which is punishable by 1 ½ to three years of imprisonment. (For the information provided below, it is important to note that individuals convicted of felonies can face potential fines of up to $150,000, while those convicted of Class 1 misdemeanors can face fines of up to $2,500.)

Bribery is considered a Class 6 felony when it involves a public official who offering or accepting an incentive in exchange for appointment to a public office (or for a designation as a candidate for such an office). Political campaign contributions that are without "corrupt malice" are not considered bribes. This type of bribery is referred to as "trading in public office." Class 6 felonies can lead to sentences of 6 months to 1 ½ years of imprisonment. In addition to these penalties, anyone who is convicted of any of the two above mentioned felonies must immediately give up his or her post and is disqualified from ever serving as a public servant again in the future.

Commercial bribery involves offering benefits to an employee for the purpose of influencing that person's actions in relation to his or her job (particularly actions that lead to the employer's economic loss). Any employee who accepts such offers are also guilty of commercial bribery. This type of offense is classified in the following ways:

  • Class 1 misdemeanor—bribe value of less than $100
  • Class 6 felony—bribe value of $100 to $1,000
  • Class 5 felony—bribe value of more than $1,000.

A class 1 misdemeanor can lead to a sentence of up to six months of incarceration. Furthermore, a Class 5 felony can result in a sentence of 9 months to 2 years in prison. One other form of bribery involves offering to improperly influence a public servant's actions in exchange for a bribe. This is classified a Class 4 felony.

In addition to a criminal record and damaging penalties, a bribery conviction can also lead to serious damages to your career. For this reason, it is vital that your secure an aggressive criminal defense attorney to represent you. The Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson provides strategic defense for bribery charges, as well as various other white collar crimes. Don't take any chances with your future— call the firm to learn about how you can go about challenging your accusers in the most effective way!

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