Popular culture is full of stories about individuals exchanging envelopes or briefcases full of cash in exchange for favors from a person in power. These exchanges—known as bribes—might not be as common in real life as they are in the movies but the consequences of a conviction for bribery are still severe.
If you have been accused of bribery, you have the right to a seasoned criminal defense attorney to help guide you. Bribery cases are often dismissed and your attorney could help push the state to drop the charges. Let a Toledo bribery lawyer review the evidence against you before you consider a guilty plea.
In Toledo, the criminal offense of bribery is governed by Ohio Rev Code 2921.02. This offense prohibits the offer of money or some other thing of value in exchange for a benefit from a person in a position in power. Bribery could involve a benefit from a variety of officials that were appointed, elected, employed, or sworn to serve in some official capacity. Some examples could include bribing a sworn witness in a criminal case, an elected official, or a public servant.
The most important factor in these cases is that bribery seeks to secure an action by a public official that interferes with their official obligations or duties. While bribery often involves cash, anything of value could conceivably result in a bribery charge. This includes a variety of goods or services that have some form of value. A bribery lawyer in Toledo could explain what constitutes a “valuable benefit” in these cases, as there are some instances that exist in a grey area.
Bribery is treated as a third-degree felony according to Ohio law. While this is not at the top of the list of severity as far as felony offenses go, the consequences of a conviction could alter a person’s life forever. The maximum sentence for a bribery conviction is three years and the minimum sentence is nine months. The court has discretion on the specific penalty as long as it falls within this range. A conviction could also result in a fine of up to $10,000.
There are also collateral consequences that come with a bribery conviction. Convicted felons will lose a number of their rights, including the right to vote or own firearms. There are also additional consequences for public servants who are convicted of bribery: these individuals are banned from ever holding a public position of trust again in the future.
There are different ways a Toledo attorney could help with a bribery case. Bribery investigations often involve substantial amounts of documentary evidence. In some situations, there could even be wiretaps or surveillance recordings that documented the sequence of events. An attorney could evaluate every piece of evidence to determine the strength of the state’s case.
The work of an attorney is especially important if the case goes to trial. Bribery trials can be complex and involve numerous witnesses. A lawyer could ensure that improper evidence stays out of the proceedings and helpful evidence is admitted.
There is no time to delay when it comes to an arrest for a bribery offense. The state has likely been working on your case long before your arrest occurred, which means they are at an advantage in the event that you eventually go to trial. A Toledo bribery lawyer could help you even the odds. Call today to discuss your various legal options.