The crime of Bribery involves providing payment, or conferring some other benefit, to a public official in order to get the official to do something. Bribery can be committed by the person making the offer to the public official - or, it can be committed by the public official. Usually, both parties will get charged in a case like this.
For the person making the bribe to be guilty, they must have the intent to influence the vote, opinion, judgment, actions or discretion of the public official. In order for the public official to be guilty, they must accept the payment or other benefit, and must agree that their vote, action or judgment will be affected as a result of the payment or benefit.
Both parties can be found guilty even when the public official did not have the actual ability to make a vote or have any influence with their opinion, judgment or discretion. Simply the agreement, along with payment, amounts to guilt.
Bribery is generally treated very harshly by the courts. This is because the public official is thought to be held to a higher standard, since they have been entrusted by the public to perform official government duties. It poses a significant threat to society if we cannot trust our officials to perform official duties without their decisions and actions being influenced by secret payments from special interests.
Bribery is a class 3 felony in Colorado, carrying a possible prison sentence of 12 years in prison. This maximum sentence can be increased to 24 years imprisonment if the sentencing judge finds that there are extraordinary aggravating circumstances in the case. A mandatory 5-year period of parole will follow any sentence to the Department of Corrections. It is especially important to have the assistance of a criminal defense attorney when facing bribery charges, in order to reduce the chances of facing a lengthy sentence to prison. Please call our office for a consultation.