If you are charged with bribery in New Jersey, the prosecution will have to prove all of the following elements in order to obtain a conviction: offering, agreeing to, or actually giving a benefit to another person OR asking for, agreeing to, or accepting a benefit from another person in exchange for: 1) any decision or other act or vote by a public servant, party official or voter in the matter of a public issue or in a public election; OR 2) a decision or other action in a judicial or administrative proceeding; OR 3) the violation of an official duty by a public official OR 4) influencing the performance of official duties.
Thus, under New Jersey law, bribery always involves illegitimate attempts to influence a government official. One may commit the crime of bribery even if the act one wants is a lawful act that is part of the official’s duties. Both parties are guilty of bribery if one party intends to offer the bribe and the other party intends to accept it.
In the context of bribery, the benefit sought or conferred can be of relatively small value or given to a third party; as long as the person gets something they did not previously have, it is considered a benefit. An exception is a situation where New Jersey law provides that government officials collect a set fee for certain services.
Further, a person can be guilty of bribery even if the official in question did not have the power to do what the briber wanted him to do, as long as he created the understanding that he could do it and was given a benefit based on that, the crime of bribery was committed.
Bribery is a second degree crime, unless the amount of the bribe was less than $200, in which case it is demoted to a third degree crime. Collateral consequences of a bribery conviction may include removal from office, revocation of professional license, and being banned from further government contracts.
If you are accused of bribery in New Jersey, you need a competent and experienced criminal defense attorney at your side, who will work to obtain the best possible result in your case. Call our experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorneys at 973-200-3630 to schedule an immediate consultation.