Most people in New York City and the metropolitan area, from Westchester and Dutchess counties to Rockland and Putnam counties, know bribery when they see it. Well, at least they think they do even if they are neither a prosecutor nor a criminal lawyer. To the average person, there is no mathematical formula or abstract analysis that comes into play when determining whether or not conduct constitutes the crime of Bribery. Maybe it was paying off a doorman or bouncer only a “few dollars” to get into a club. Maybe you promised a security officer at Madison Square Garden a discount at a store you manage if he or she gave you better seats. Alternatively, it might be much worse. Did you commit the crime of Bribery? Does it matter if this person was a public servant or a private citizen in the eyes of New York’s criminal law, the District Attorney or Attorney General? Regardless of your own perception as to what constitutes the crime of Bribery in New York, you may be taking yourself down a path of not only misinformation, but a potentially criminal one as well. Where that path ends may be a prison cell. Should your actions be criminal in nature or perceived by prosecutors to be such, your first call should be to a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney to rectify the precarious situation you now face.
- Bribery in the Third Degree: New York Penal Law 200.00
- Bribery in the Second Degree: New York Penal Law 200.03
- Bribery in the First Degree: New York Penal Law 200.04
One of the greatest concerns you will confront if arrested, indicted or ultimately convicted for the crime of Bribery in New York, irrespective of whether the crime takes place in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Westchester or the Bronx, is the potential punishment you may receive. Because each degree of Bribery is a felony, even a first-time offender faces a possible term of incarceration in state prison. While there is no mandatory minimum for Third or Second Degree Bribery, these crimes are punishable by up to seven and fifteen years respectively. Unlike the lower degrees of Bribery, there is a minimum mandatory term of imprisonment for Bribery in the First Degree. This offense is punishable by as “little” as one to three years and as much as eight and one third to twenty-five years in state prison.
Often times the crime of Bribery, regardless of the degree, does not stand on an island. In other words, law enforcement may charge you with additional crimes as part of a greater scheme or criminal plan. These offenses can include:
- Enterprise Corruption: NY Penal Law 460.20
- Falsifying Business Records: NY Penal Law Article 175
- Grand Larceny: New York Penal Law Article 155
Although often confused with Bribery, Rewarding Official Misconduct and Giving Unlawful Gratuities are distinct and separate criminal offenses.
It is important to note that there is at least one statutorily identified defense to Bribery found in the New York Penal Law. That defense is found in New York Penal Law section 200.05. Generally, this statute states that if you bribe a public servant as a result of that person attempting to or actually committing the crimes of Extortion or Coercion against you, then there is a defense to your actions. Obviously, because this defense is a legal defense, and by no means a defense to every allegation, it is imperative to consult with a New York criminal lawyer to ascertain the best defense in your Bribery case.
When arrested for or charged with any felony in New York, including any degree of Bribery, don’t let an allegation destroy your life and imperil your future. Contact the New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law to advocate in your defense. Simply, there is no substitute for knowledge and experience.
Call our New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today