Certain acts of bribery are illegal under Texas law. Bribery is the act of a person giving or offering something of value to another for the sole purpose of influencing that individual. Typically, people bribe others for their own personal benefit. For example, if a person bribes a political official to make a certain decision, then they are both committing an offense.
Bribing any active voters, public servants, party officials or any political official for a personal benefit is illegal. You could be facing felony charges with harsh penalties such as fines and prison time. It’s vital that you understand your charges and gain legal representation as soon as possible.
Attorney for Bribery in San Antonio, Texas
Bribery is a serious offense under Texas law. You may be burdened with serous legal consequences such as heavy fines and incarceration. It’s time to start planning your defense. Begin with step one by calling the attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr.
The attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr are skilled at representing clients accused of white-collar crimes. Our attorneys have decades of experience battling bribery charges. We use our skills and resources to create a strong defense for you. Don’t hesitate when it comes to your future. Call the attorneys at (210) 226-1463 to schedule a free consultation today.
Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr accepts clients throughout the greater San Antonio metropolitan area and nearing cities such as Schertz, Sandy Oaks, Universal City and Elmendorf.
Overview of Bribery Charges in Texas
- Bribery Defined Under Texas Law
- Types of Bribery
- Additional Resources
Bribery Defined Under Texas Law
Bribery crimes in Texas are associated with political corruption. Offering, conferring or agreeing to confer a political official or voter for a personal benefit is unlawful. Texas statute § 36.02 states that it’s illegal to bribe another for a benefit to:
- Make a certain decision such as a recommendation, opinion, vote or any other exercise of discretion made by a party official, voter or public servant;
- Violate their duty imposed by law as a party official or public servant;
- Make a certain decision such as a recommendation, vote or other exercise of formal discretion in a judicial or administrative proceeding; or
- Convince another to do any sort of action that would be labeled as political corruption.
The term “party official” is defined as any person who holds a position or office in a political party. This can be by election, appointment or employment. It’s not an admissible defense to state that the benefit was accepted after the requested act occurred or after the public servant leaves office.
Bribery is a second-degree felony, which is punishable by:
- Up to 20 years in prison; and
- A possible fine of up to $10,000.
Types of Bribery Offenses in Texas
Bribery has its own statute, but Texas law outlines multiple bribery offenses. Some of these include coercing public servants or voters, improperly influencing political officials and tampering with witnesses. It’s important that you’re aware of what your bribery offense is defined as. All bribery offenses carry severe penalties which include incarceration.
Coercion of a Public Servant or Voter
Coercing public servants or voters is illegal in Texas. Texas Statute § 36.03 states that a person commits a crime if he or she attempts to or does:
- Influence a public servant to exercise a specific power or duty;
- Influence a public servant to violate their legal duties; or
- Influence a voter to vote in a particular manner.
Coercing a public servant or voter is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $500 fine. However, if a threat was used then the crime is enhanced to a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.
It’s not just illegal to influence a political official by gifts or services. It’s also illegal to influence a political official through words. Intentionally and privately addressing a political official about their official powers and discretion for an adjudicatory proceeding is a crime.
The term “adjudicatory proceeding” is defined as any proceeding before a court or other government agency. Improperly influencing a public servant is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $500 fine.
Tampering with a Witness
Bribing a witness or potential witness is a criminal offense in Texas. A witness is any person who gives testimony in an official proceeding. It’s illegal to coerce a witness or prospective witness to do any of the following:
- Falsely testify;
- Withhold testimony, documents, information or anything else that’s relevant;
- Elude the legal process through testimony or supplemental evidence;
- Not appear at an official proceeding when summoned; or
- Abstain from, discontinue or delay the prosecution of another person.
Witnesses who accept bribes are also subject to the same criminal charges. Tampering with a witness or accepting a bribe as a witness is a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.
However, if the witness is a part of certain legal proceedings the penalties may be enhanced. If the legal proceeding is a capital felony, then the offender may face a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony is punishable by up to 99 years or life imprisonment, and a $10,000 fine.
If the legal proceeding involves family violence and the offender already has a domestic violence charge, the penalties may be elevated. This is a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Texas Bribery Laws – Visit the official website for Texas statutes and laws to find more information about bribery offenses. Learn more about bribery offenses such as tampering witnesses, obstructing justice or giving a gift to a public servant in your jurisdiction.
Penalties for Violating State Ethics – Visit the official website for the National Conference of State Legislation (NCSL), an organization whose purpose is to defend and strengthen state legislatures. Find more information about state ethics violations and public corruption in all 50 states and gain access to important resources.
Lawyer for Bribery in Bexar County, Texas
If you or someone you know has been charged with a bribery offense, it’s important that you seek experienced legal representation. You could face heavy penalties, including possible incarceration. You must act now to protect your future. Contact the attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr today.
Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr is a group of passionate attorneys who have a strong focus in criminal defense. We are well-versed in Texas bribery laws and the local political community. Our attorneys will use their knowledge and defense strategies to uncover the best legal route for you. Get ahead of your charges today and call Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr.
The attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr represent those accused of bribery throughout Bexar County and surrounding counties including Guadalupe County, Wilson County, Medina County, and Kendall County.
Call now at (210) 226-1463 to schedule a free consultation surrounding your charges today.
This article was last updated on November 27, 2018.