A great job, whether in the public or private sector, is not just about the money, it is about the social scene. The most desirable jobs enable you to make professional and personal connections and get invited to social events. Ask any well-traveled teen how he got to visit so many interesting places, and he will most likely tell you that it was because of his parent’s job. Some jobs involve so many catered lunches that, several times per month, you can bring home enough leftovers that you can avoid cooking dinner. All of this is legal; Texas, of all places, values professional networking and community connections. Giving or receiving financial incentives in order to influence public officials is the crime of bribery, and it is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If you are being accused of offering, paying, or receiving a bribe, contact a Dallas white collar crimes lawyer.
Where Is the Line Between Bribery and a Cushy Job?
Texas Penal Code 36.02(c) defines the crime of bribery as offering, soliciting, paying, or receiving money in order to influence an action of a public official. The following are scenarios where you can be convicted of bribery:
· You are a judge, and you ask for or receive payment in exchange for issuing a certain ruling in a legal case.
· You are a member of the state legislature and you solicit or receive money in exchange for voting for or against the passage of a certain law.
· You are a school board member who secured a contract with a private company to provide certain supplies for your school district, and after your tenure on the school board ended, the company gave you a financial reward.
The Texas bribery law applies only to financial incentives offered to or solicited by public sector employees. You can be convicted of bribery even if the recipient of the bribe was not currently in office when the bribe was paid. Private sector business deals are not above the law, but corrupt business practices in the private sector, but those can be prosecuted as other financial crimes, such as money laundering and embezzlement, rather than bribery. Bribery is a second-degree felony, punishable by two to twenty years in prison, plus a fine of up to $10,000.
With the focus on bribery as an attempt to influence public officials, you might wonder whether you can get in trouble for making a campaign contribution to a candidate for public office. Campaign contributions are perfectly legal, as long as they comply with Title 15 of the Election Code and Chapter 305 of the Government Code. These laws require, among other things, transparency about the sources of campaign contributions.
Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Your Bribery Case
A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being accused of paying a bribe to a public official or receiving a bribe in connection to your public sector job. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC in Dallas, Texas to discuss your case.