Under Washington criminal law, you generally commit the crime of bribery if you try to gain favor with a public official by offering the official something of value. The offense is a serious felony that can result in a state prison term of up to a decade. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you or a loved one is facing a bribery charge.
What is Washington’s Law on Bribery?
RCW 9A.68.010 is the Washington statute on the crime of bribery. Per this law, you commit a crime if you:
- Offer or agree to offer anything of value to a public servant, and
- Do so with the intent to secure a particular result in a matter involving the exercise of the servant’s vote, opinion, judgement, or exercise of discretion.
RCW 9A.68.010 also says that public servants can commit bribery. A public servant is guilty of bribery if he or she:
- Requests, accepts, or agrees to accept something of value from another person, and
- Does so per an agreement or understanding that his or her vote, opinion, judgement, or exercise of discretion will be used to secure or attempt to secure a particular result in a matter.
Note that a “public servant” is generally a government official or employee. Further, bribery is a crime under both:
- Washington State law, and
- Federal law.
What are the Penalties?
Bribery is a Class B felony under Washington law. The crime is punishable by:
- Custody in state prison for up to 10 years, and/or
- A maximum fine of $20,000.
Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?
Yes. You can contest a bribery charge with a legal defense. Recall that you are only guilty of bribery if you give something of value to an official with the specific intent to influence that person’s vote or judgment. Therefore, it’s always a defense to show that while you gave a gift to a public servant, you never did so with the purpose of influencing his or her opinion.
Entrapment is another common defense in these cases when an accused is charged following an undercover police sting. The defense says that the defendant only committed a crime because a police officer lured him or her into doing so. It is an acceptable defense provided that the accused shows he or she only committed the crime because of the entrapment.
Contact Black & Askerov for Help
While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a bribery charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Black & Askerov have over 35 years of combined experience defending clients on bribery charges. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!