Building a DC Bribery Defense

In a bribery case, the prosecution must prove certain elements to be able to find a person guilty. This is referred to as the burden of proof. DC bribery defenses generally center around disproving those elements to make the prosecution unable to meet their burden of proof. A skilled bribery attorney can work to build a strong defense to help protect your rights.

Elements to Prove Bribery in DC

In a bribery case, prosecutors need to prove three basic elements beyond a reasonable doubt. First, they need to prove that the bribed official is a public official. Second, the person accused of bribing the official must directly or indirectly corruptly give, offer, or promise something of value to the public official. Third, the person accused of bribery must have the intent to induce the public official to act in violation of their lawful duty. These three elements are mirrored for allegations involving the public official who seeks out or demands the bribe.

When prosecutors investigate and ultimately charge a person with bribery, they will generally try to whether they believe they can prove those three essential elements of a bribery case. They will attempt to find evidence for each element with the expectation that they need to be able to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt. If they do not believe they can meet their burden of proof, they may decide not to press charges.

Defenses to these Allegations

To defend against allegations of bribery, it is important to attack these elements to question whether the prosecutors can prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. That could mean that a defense lawyer can question whether a person accused of seeking, demanding, or accepting a bribe is, in fact, a public official. A public official is defined under federal law as a Member of Congress, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner, either before or after such official has qualified, or an officer or employee or person acting for or on behalf of the United States, or any department, agency or branch of Government thereof, including the District of Columbia, in any official function, under or by authority of any such department, agency, or branch of Government, or a juror.

Another defense could attack the third element of bribery allegation which is inducing the public official to act in violation of their lawful duty. This means that not every payment or offer to a public official is a violation of the law. It is commonly considered a violation of the law to expect what is referred to as a quid pro quo. That means that there is a direct connection between the payment to the public official and the expectation that the payment is for the purpose of inducing certain acts by the public official.

In some situations, public officials have interactions with people they represent that, even if they may be considered unsavory or violations of certain ethical responsibilities, are not necessarily considered to be a crime under federal bribery laws. It is important for defense attorneys to be able to understand the differences between a quid pro quo engagement and acts by public officials that involve engagements with the public they represent that does not rise to the level of bribery.

Get Help Building a DC Bribery Defense

When building a DC bribery defense, a detail-oriented will thoroughly investigate the prosecution’s case to find areas where they cannot meet their burden of proof. They may then use the available evidence to find a way to illustrate the prosecution’s inability to meet their burden of proof. To get started on your case, call today for a consultation.