Detroit Bribery Lawyer
A conviction for bribery can have far reaching consequences on your freedom, finances, and reputation. You will face fines, jail time, and a permanent entry on your criminal record that will be public information. The record of your bribery conviction may keep you from getting a job, applying for professional licenses, and owning a firearm.
Owing to the harsh consequences of a bribery conviction, you should retain the services of an experienced Detroit bribery lawyer as soon as you come under the scrutiny of the authorities. If you suspect you are being investigated for a crime, you should hire a legal professional immediately. The earlier you get the protection of a lawyer, the better your chances of avoiding a conviction.
How Does Michigan Law Define Bribery?
Michigan Penal Code section 750.117 prohibits bribing a public officer. Bribery occurs when a person offers or promises to give any money or thing of value to a public officer with the intent to influence an act, vote, opinion, or official decision of that public officer. This offense is a felony punishable by lengthy prison sentences and crippling fines.
The public officer who accepts the bribe may be charged under Michigan Penal Code section 750.118. Specifically, the statute makes it a felony for an executive, legislative, or judicial officer to make an official act in exchange for something of value. The maximum penalty for this felony is a ten-year prison sentence or a fine of up to $5,000.
Under Michigan Penal Code section 750.119, it’s illegal to give a bribe to any of the following:
The maximum penalty for this felony is a four-year prison sentence along with a possible $5,000 fine. If the offense is committed in the context of a criminal trial for an offense punishable by ten or more years of prison time, the maximum penalty increases to ten years in prison and fines of $20,000.
Of course, it’s also illegal for any person exercising the functions listed above to be on the receiving end of a bribe. If you’re an appraiser, trustee, juror, or arbitrator who received a bribe, you could face felony charges under Michigan Penal Code section 750.120.
What Are the Legal Defenses to Bribery Charges?
Like any criminal offense, a prosecutor will need to present convincing evidence of your guilt to obtain a conviction. For this reason, your lawyer will fight hard to obtain the exclusion of some of the prosecutor’s evidence before your trial starts. Without evidence against you, the prosecutor will not be able to prove your guilt. In some cases, the prosecutor may have so little usable evidence that your Detroit bribery lawyer can ask the court to dismiss the case.
One of the most common ways of obtaining the exclusion of evidence from the prosecutor’s case is to show that the evidence was obtained illegally or in violation of your constitutional rights. In the context of a bribery case, your lawyer may be able to suppress the prosecutor’s evidence when:
- The police conducted an illegal search—If the police searched your home or place of business without a search warrant, your consent, or emergency circumstances justifying a warrantless entry, any evidence from that search must be excluded.
- The police obtained statements in violation of your rights—When the police arrest you, they must read you your Miranda rights, which serve as a guarantee of your right to remain silent and obtain a lawyer. If the police failed to inform you of these rights or continued questioning you after you requested a lawyer, any statements you made to them cannot be used as evidence against you at trial.
After requesting the suppression of the prosecutor’s evidence, your lawyer will work on showing that there is a reasonable doubt as to whether you committed bribery. This may be accomplished by reinterpreting or discrediting the prosecutor’s documentary evidence and witnesses. Your lawyer can also introduce evidence and witness testimony that points towards your innocence.
If suppressing the prosecutor’s evidence or demonstrating reasonable doubt are not options in your case, it may be in your best interest to accept a plea bargain. Your lawyer can use his or her negotiation skills to secure a conviction for a lesser offense or the guarantee of a lenient sentence if you agree to enter a plea of guilty.
A Detroit Bribery Lawyer is Here to Help
At Davis Law Group, we are passionate about defending the rights of the accused as they face the Michigan criminal justice system. Our aggressive advocacy and compassionate approach to our clients have made us one of the most trusted criminal defense firms in the Detroit area. If you are facing bribery charges, call us today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.