Bribery cases in Chicago
Bribery involves an attempt to influence the behavior or actions of another person by offering them gifts, services or monetary compensation. Bribery may involve political officials, government employees or other individuals in positions of authority. You can be charged with bribery at the state or federal level for either offering someone a bribe or taking one. If a bribery charge is currently pending against you, enlisting the aid of an experienced lawyer should be your first priority.
The Illinois Compiled Statutes outline what actions constitute bribery. You can be charged with bribery for attempting to persuade or influence any public official or public employee, any witness or juror involved in a civil or criminal case or any official presiding over a sporting event by offering them any type of property or personal advantage in exchange. Commercial bribery involves offering money, gifts or other benefits to an employee with the intent to influence his or her conduct or behavior towards their employer.
Bribery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the individual who is offered or accepts a bribe and the amount of the bribe itself. For example, commercial bribery involving a bribe of less than $500,000 is treated as a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine. Instances of commercial bribery involving amounts higher than $500,000 are treated as a Class 3 felony, which is punishable by a prison term of two to five years. Bribery of sporting officials may also be treated as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the type of bribe involved. Bribery of public officials or jurors is classified as a Class 2 felony, which carries a prison term of between three and seven years and a fine of up to $25,000.
Federal bribery charges
Federal law identifies a wide range of scenarios which constitute bribery, including:
- Any public official attempting to influence the behavior of another public official
- Bribing a witness to offer false testimony or not appear at trial
- Demanding a bribe to offer testimony at a civil or criminal trial
- Offering or accepting a bribe for the performance of a public duty
- Bribing a public official for the purpose of influencing his or testimony before any court or committee
Under federal law, bribery is punishable by substantial fines along with a prison term of up to 15 years per offense. In many cases, federal prosecutors will also seek other charges against an individual accused of bribery, such as extortion, corruption, fraud, embezzlement and blackmail. Your Criminal Defense Attorney can explain the different penalties associated with each of these charges.
Contact our Chicago criminal defense attorneys
Individuals who have been accused of bribery must take action quickly in order to protect their rights. The federal government does not take bribery charges lightly and you may be the target of investigation by a number of law enforcement agencies. Whether you’re facing bribery charges in the state of Illinois or in a federal court anywhere in the U.S., Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Schmiege is ready to take your case.
Bribery charges can be damaging to your reputation and a conviction can result in significant financial losses in the form of fines and restitution as well as the potential loss of your freedom. Attorney Michael Schmiege understands the implications of a criminal conviction and he is committed to working towards the best resolution possible for your case. If you need aggressive legal representation to fight a bribery charge, call (312) 906-7800 now to begin your free initial assessment.