Bribery in Florida

If accused of Bribery in Florida, you need to know the:

Definition of Bribery

Under Florida Statute 838.015, the crime of Bribery occurs when:

  1. A person or a public official corruptly;
  2. Offers or agrees to accept a thing of value;
  3. With the intent to influence an official action. [1]

What Would it Take?

A specific offer of money is not required to constitute a bribe. Simply posing a coded question, such as “What would it take?”, to a public official can be sufficient to constitute the crime of bribery. [2]

Penalties for Bribery

The crime of Bribery is classified as a Second Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 7 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Bribery, a judge is required to impose a minimum prison sentence of 21 months in prison and can also impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to fifteen (15) years in prison.
  • Up to fifteen (15) years of probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Defenses to Bribery

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Bribery are:

Generalized Expectation

It is a defense to the crime of Bribery if it can be shown that there was no explicit quid pro quo in a donation to a public official.

Thus, a generalized expectation of some future favorable action is insufficient to convict someone one of bribery. Rather the public official must agree to take or forgo some specific act for there to be a crime. Absent such an agreement, even a close-in-time relationship between a donation and an act will not suffice. [3]

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Bribery involving a Public Official in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. Nell v. State, 277 So. 2d 1, 5 (1973)
  2. Donnelly v. State, 693 So. 2d 125 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997)
  3. State v. Flansbaum-Talabisco, 121 So. 3d 568 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013)