Washington law says that you commit a crime if you take or receive a bribe while serving as a witness in a legal proceeding. The offense is a serious felony that is punishable by up to ten years in state prison. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you are facing any type of bribery charge under either Washington or federal law.
What are Washington’s Laws on a Witness Receiving a Bribe?
RCW 9A.72.100 is the Washington statute that sets forth the crime involving a witness receiving a bribe. Per this law, you commit an offense if you are a witness in a legal proceeding, or have reason to believe that you will be called as a witness in a legal proceeding, and accept or agree to accept any benefit with the understanding that:
- Your testimony will be influenced,
- You will attempt to avoid serving as a witness,
- You will attempt to absent yourself from the proceeding that you are being called to testify at, or
- You will not report information concerning a criminal investigation.
What are the Penalties?
A violation of RCW 9A.72.100 is charged as a class B felony (as opposed to a misdemeanor). A conviction of this crime is punishable by:
- Custody in state prison for up to 10 years, and/or
- A fine of up to $20,000.
Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?
Yes. You have the right to challenge a bribery charge by raising a legal defense. A common defense is to show that while you may have accepted a benefit from someone, you did not do so while serving as a witness, or with any belief that you would be serving as a witness.
You can also attempt to show that while you did receive some benefit, you did not accept it with the understanding that:
- You would testify falsely, or
- You would avoid the legal proceeding in which you were being called as a witness.
Your criminal defense attorney can also try to show that you were entrapped. Entrapment is a legal defense often raised if you were charged as part of an undercover sting operation. The defense says that you only committed a crime because a police officer lured you into doing so. It is an acceptable defense provided that you can show that you only accepted a bribe 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 30 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!