In any situation with high stakes, there’s the potential for bribery. Parents, for example, can end up in trouble over a concern anyone responsible for a child shares: getting their children in a top school. This is the subject of a recent high-profile college bribery admissions scandal that included celebrities Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.

Bribery charges at any level are serious, so if you or someone you know has been accused of bribery, it makes sense to learn more about what you could be facing and speak to a criminal lawyer in Denver, CO as soon as possible.

The Elements of Bribery in Colorado

To be convicted of bribery, the prosecutor has to prove that you gave, received or solicited something that had value so you could influence an official to do something you wanted in the course of their public duties. According to the law, a bribery attempt that wasn’t successful is still a criminal offense; just the attempt alone is a crime.

The prosecutor also must establish that you had corrupt intentions. This means that your intention was to give or receive some sort of special benefit in return for something of value.

State Bribery Charges

In Colorado, there is a distinction made between the bribery of a public official and the bribery of another type of official, such as someone working for a commercial entity. Government official bribery is a Class 3 felony, carrying a sentence of four to 12 years in prison and a fine ranging from $3,000 to $750,000. Bribing a non-governmental official is a Class 6 felony, which can bring a prison sentence of 12 to 18 months and a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000.

If the offense allegation involves other fraud forms, you can be charged with fraud charges in addition to the ones for bribery. Sometimes, fraud may be the only charges brought because it can be easier to prosecute for fraud than bribery in some situations.

Federal Bribery Charges

In certain circumstances, such as when the bribery is committed by the mail or over the web—involving more than one state—or takes place across state lines, it may be prosecuted at the federal level. If the allegation involves a financial or governmental institution, the case may draw the attention of federal officials as well.

If you or someone you know are facing federal bribery charges, speak to a lawyer as soon as you can. Federal agencies have more investigating power, and federal bribery charges tend to carry harsher sentences than they do at the state level, such as 15 years in prison for each count of bribery and substantial fines.

In general, any bribery charge is serious, whether at the state or federal level. Large fines and jail time will have an impact on your personal, financial and work lives now and in the future. Don’t leave anything to chance if you are facing charges of bribery. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case as soon as possible so your rights are fully protected from the start.

Thank you to the experts at Richard Banta, P.C. for their input into insurance fraud.