How DC Federal Bribery Charges Can Occur

In DC, even if bribery allegations do not involve a federal official, a person may face federal charges. This is because of DC’s unique status as a federal district. To discuss other situations when DC federal bribery charges can occur, it is important to consult a knowledgeable federal bribery attorney.

Ways Someone Can Be Charged With Federal Bribery

An individual can be charged federally with bribery by offering, promising, or giving something of value to a public official in exchange for a specific action. A public official who demands, seeks, or accepts a bribe can also be charged under the same bribery statute. The bribe could entail the public official providing a positive performance review of the employee or government contractor offering the bribe, the public official steering contracts towards a company belonging to the individual offering the bribe, or the public official issuing more favorable regulatory treatment to the individual offering the bribe.

Official acts are broadly defined, which can make it difficult to determine if a public official’s actions were in violation of their lawful duty. A charge similar to bribery but fundamentally different is providing an illegal gratuity. The difference between a bribe and a gratuity is that a bribe involves what is commonly referred to as a quid pro quo, or the giving of an item of value in exchange for the public official acting in a certain way. Illegal gratuity does not require a quid pro quo arrangement; it is most commonly thought of as a gift given to a public official after they have acted in a certain way.

Federal bribery charges are considered extremely serious. Therefore, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

When Are Charges Filed in Federal Court in DC?

An individual could be in federal court for bribery allegations when charged under 18 US Code Section 201, the federal bribery of public officials statute. For an individual to be charged with federal bribery under the federal statute, the public official involved in the bribe would have to be a member of Congress, delegate, or resident commissioner, or an officer, employee, or person acting for or on behalf of the United States government, a department agency, or branch of the United States government.

The public official could also be anyone with any official function in the District of Columbia government or any department agency or branch of the District of Columbia. Since Washington, D.C. is considered a federal district and not a state, federal prosecutors have jurisdiction over bribery allegations involving D.C. public officials in the same way that they have jurisdiction over bribery allegations involving any federal government officials.

Potential Penalties

An individual convicted of federal bribery charges can be imprisoned for up to 15 years, fined up to three times the monetary equivalent of the bribe, and disqualified from ever holding any position of trust in the U.S. government.

The federal sentencing guidelines provide a variety of aggravating factors that could increase the recommended sentence an individual might face if convicted of federal bribery charges. The most common aggravating circumstances in bribery cases that could cause an individual to face greater penalties include the presence of more than one bribe, the amount of the total value of all bribes involved, and whether or not the public official is a high-level decision-maker or in a sensitive government position. Such factors could increase the level of the offense and impact the judge’s decision while determining which sentences is most appropriate under the federal sentencing guidelines.

Talk to an Attorney About How DC Federal Bribery Charges Can Occur

People should know that federal bribery charges in D.C. are extremely serious and often carry severe penalties. FBI agents and federal prosecutors can utilize aggressive tactics including confidential informants, undercover agents, or electronic monitoring to gain evidence to convict an individual of bribery charges.

No one should underestimate the seriousness of bribery allegations at the federal level, nor should they think that contacting a lawyer as soon as possible makes them look guilty or will make them subject to harsher treatment by federal prosecutors. An individual who believes they are under investigation for federal bribery charges should talk to a lawyer immediately, before they speak with a prosecutor, FBI agents, or any law enforcement agent, and before they waive any constitutional rights. Call today for the help you need.