Bribery is one of those crimes that is often thrown into best-selling novels or Hollywood blockbusters to make the plot more interesting. In real life, however, bribery is a serious offense that carries serious penalties if convicted. If you have been charged with the offense of bribery in Nebraska you need to know exactly what the elements of the offense are and what penalties you face if convicted.
Nebraska Revised Statute Section 28-917 is where the offense of bribery can be found. According to the code, a person commits the offense of bribery if:
- He offers, confers, or agrees to confer any benefit upon a public servant or peace officer with the intent to influence that public servant or peace officer to violate his public duty, or oath of office, thereby influencing the public servant’s or peace officer’s vote, opinion, judgment, exercise of discretion, or other action or inaction in his official capacity; OR
- While a public servant or peace officer, he solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit upon an agreement or understanding that he will violate his public duty or oath of office by changing or amending his vote, opinion, judgment, exercise of discretion, or other action or inaction as a public servant or peace officer.
If you are considered a “public servant”, meaning you work for the local, state, or federal government in any capacity, you need to be aware of the definition of bribery to ensure you do not unintentionally run afoul of the law. In your official capacity, you are likely prohibited from accepting “gifts” from anyone. This is precisely why that prohibition is in place – to ensure that a harmless “gift” is not misconstrued as a bribe.
The same is true for a member of the public who interacts with government officials. As you should note from the statute, the person offering the “bribe” must only intend for the “gift” (or benefit) to be used to influence a public servant. In other words, the public servant does not have to agree to do (or not do) anything for you to be charged with bribery. If it appears that you offered something to a public servant with the intent to influence the individual, you could be charged with bribery.
In the State of Nebraska, the offense of bribery is a Class IV felony. If convicted you could face up to two years in prison and 12 months of post-release supervision and/or up to a $10,000 fine.
If you have been charged with bribery, or any other criminal offense, in Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.