Some say money can fix anything. However, offering money to a law enforcement or judicial officer to avoid punishment can only worsen things. In Oklahoma, bribing an officer is a serious felony, and those who commit this crime can spend up to 10 years in prison. Offering money, goods or services to an officer to influence their opinion may seem like the easy way out of a conviction, but doing so can only aggravate the penalties a person would have to comply with.
Bribery in Oklahoma
Bribery is a serious crime because those who commit it intend to bypass the law for their own benefit. A person commits the crime of bribery when they offer anything of value to a person in exchange for favorable treatment. The thing they offer to the person does not necessarily have to be money for the crime to qualify as bribery. It could be anything that benefits the person who receives the bribe, such as property, privileges and favors. In Oklahoma, bribing an officer to avoid getting in trouble is a felony. The punishments for these felonies vary depending on who the person bribed.
Penalties for bribing a public officer
Under Oklahoma law, a public officer means any employee of the state of Oklahoma, including the police. If a person offers anything of value to a public officer to influence their acts, opinion, decision or judgment, they commit a felony. The penalties for bribing a public officer are:
- A term of imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for up to 5 years
- A fine of up to $3,000
- A term of imprisonment in jail for up to 1 year
If bribery happens, the court would not only punish the person who offered the bribe. The person accepting the bribe would also face the consequences of their mistake. In fact, the penalties for an officer who accepts a bribe are worse. Officers who accept a bribe can spend up to 10 years in prison and must pay a maximum fine of $5,000.
Penalties for bribing a judicial officer or legal participants
Bribing a judge, member of the jury, arbitrator or anyone who has the authorization to hear and determine a controversy is also a felony. However, the penalties for bribing someone with decision-making power on legal matters are harsher than those for bribing a public officer. The courts would punish someone who commits this crime with a sentence of imprisonment of up to 10 years in the State Penitentiary and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Avoiding the consequences
Having a criminal charge can be stressful and nerve-wracking. Still, bribing someone to get out of trouble does not fix the problem; it worsens it. A person can eliminate their criminal charges in many other legal ways, like building a strong defense to prove their innocence to the court. Offering money or goods is not an easy solution. It is a ticket to an aggravated conviction.