Bribery has resulted in the imposition of very harsh jail sentences and significant fines for many politicians and other public officials. Illinois residents are all too familiar with how bribery has played a role in the political sphere of this state, especially given that we’ve had two governors serve jail sentences for bribery-related crimes. Bribery is a crime that covers a wide range of conduct involving politics, law enforcement, and the judicial system.
Bribery can be something as simple as giving an employee basketball tickets in exchange for the employee promising to keep certain information secret. Depending on what information is being kept secret, this conduct could be considered very minor or very serious. When facing bribery charges, the most important thing to do following an arrest is to contact an attorney. You will need to speak with an experienced Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney who handles white collar crimes. Having represented numerous clients who have been charged with bribery in Illinois, David L. Freidberg has the knowledge and experience necessary to help his clients reach the best result possible given the circumstances surrounding the bribery charge.Illinois Bribery Law
Under Illinois law, 720 ILCS 5/33-1, there are a number of ways in which one may be charged and convicted of bribery. An individual may be found guilty of bribery in Illinois if he or she has the intent to influence “the performance of any act related to the employment or function of any public officer, public employee, juror or witness.” Ways in which someone may carry out this intent include the following:
- Promise or tender property or personal advantage to an individual who cannot lawfully accept the property or personal advantage;
- Promise or tender property or personal advantage to an individual believed to be a public officer, public employee, juror or witness who cannot lawfully accept the property or personal advantage;
- Promise or tender property or personal advantage to an individual who cannot lawfully accept the property or personal advantage, causing another person to influence the performance of any act related to the employment or function of any public officer, public employee, juror or witness;
- Unlawfully receive, retain or agree to accept any property or personal advantage with the knowledge that the property or personal advantage was promised or tendered with the purpose of influencing the performance of any act related to the employment or function of any public officer, public employee, juror or witness; or
- Solicit, receive, retain, or agree to accept any property or personal advantage pursuant to an understanding that he or she shall improperly influence or attempt to influence the performance of any act related to the employment or function of any public officer, public employee, juror or witness.
Illinois bribery law can be very confusing because the language of the statute can apply to a variety of conduct. In simpler terms, bribery is the act of giving or receiving something in exchange for another individual’s act to influence other conduct. Some conduct that fits within this definition may seem so minor or minimal that a criminal charge would not be imposed for such conduct, and this is why it is so important to have a skilled attorney by your side no matter how minor the bribery charge may seem to be. Examples of bribery that help paint a clearer picture include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Paying a public official, such as a governor, in exchange for the governor’s decision to veto a bill;
- Giving a prosecutor Chicago Bulls season tickets in exchange for dismissal of a criminal charge;
- Paying for and/or taking a public employee on a vacation in exchange for the employee’s promise to manipulate certain official documents; and
- Providing a judge’s child a job in exchange for the judge’s promise to rule a particular way in a pending civil or criminal proceeding.
Bribery is a Class 2 Felony and as such, upon a conviction, you can be sentenced from 3 to 7 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Because bribery is a crime that can give rise to harsh consequences, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a qualified Chicago-based Bribery Defense Attorney who has a track record of success. David L. Freidberg understands just how serious a bribery charge can be in Illinois, and what it takes to build a strong defense and minimize the devastating consequences of a bribery conviction.Defending an Illinois Bribery Charge
There are not many defenses to a charge of bribery under Illinois law. The minimal defenses that may be raised include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Entrapment – the accused individual is induced or “trapped” by another individual or individuals to commit the crime of bribery;
- Coercion – the accused individual was forced to commit the crime of bribery and he or she did not have the ability to safely avoid committing the crime (i.e., his or her life was at stake);
- Failure to meet all elements of the crime – the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused individual is guilty, and the defendant can argue to the jury that because not all elements of bribery have been satisfied, such as intent, there can be no conviction.
Despite the presumption of innocence, many individuals accused of bribery are convicted at trial even if there was not significant evidence to prove guilt. As such, finding the right attorney as soon as possible will help you prepare your defense and fight the Chicago bribery charge against you in an effort to either have the criminal charge dismissed, or seek a resolution that does not involve jail time or significant fines.
David L. Freidberg provides his clients with a road map of how the criminal proceeding can and will proceed. He routinely seeks information from the client that can help to raise defenses that could potentially get the bribery charge dismissed. If dismissal is not possible due to a lack of evidence or a violation of your constitutional rights, then David L. Freidberg may negotiate with the prosecutor to seek a resolution that is fair given the particular facts of your bribery charge.Contact Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney David L. Freidberg Today to Schedule Your Free Confidential Consultation
A bribery charge can leave you or someone you know feeling anxious, uneasy and frightened. This is the most important time to speak with an attorney who can help you understand what has happened and what steps to take to move forward and face the bribery charge. In a time of need, it is essential that you speak with a Chicago Bribery Defense Attorney who has helped numerous clients face bribery and other white collar criminal charges. David L. Freidberg has the experience you are looking for in a skilled Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney. With more than 20 years of experience defending his clients against serious criminal charges and protecting their constitutional rights, David L. Freidberg is available to provide you with the same quality legal representation. Contact us today to schedule a free confidential consultation by calling (312) 560-7100, or you may contact us via email and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible. We are available 24/7 to help you with your criminal matter.