Bribery is no small matter in Claremore, Oklahoma. We think of it as helping each other out, a kind of reciprocity — scratch my back and I will scratch yours. But bribery — big or small — is a crime in Oklahoma.
Bribery in Oklahoma is defined as goods, money, actions, property or anything else of value that is given or promised, and which is accepted, with the intent to unlawfully influence a person’s vote, action or opinion on a private or public matter. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 97
There are a number of statutes that cover bribery in various settings and conditions. These statutes set out almost virtually identical elements, but the penalties differ depending on statute.
For example, the bribing of an executive officer is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and/or a fine up to $5,000. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 265
Being convicted of receiving a bribe is also a felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and/or a fine up to $5,000. In addition, that official must forfeit his or her public office and is forever disqualified from holding another public office. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 266
Bribing a legislator carries the same penalty, as does bribing a judicial official or a juror. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 §§ 308, 383
A conviction of bribing an athlete, participant, coach, referee, or any other athletic official, is a felony punishable with prison up to five years, or one year in the county jail, and/or a fine up to $3,000. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 399
Bribery of a Public Official
In Oklahoma, bribery is defined as the corrupt giving, offer, promise of a gift, gratuity or the like, made to an official or other public officer, with the intent to influence that person’s actions, vote, opinion, decision or judgment on a matter, question or proceeding that is or could be brought before that person. This is bribing a public official, and it is a felony in Oklahoma, punishable by up to five years in prison and/or up to $3,000 in fines. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 381
Here are the elements of bribery. A prosecutor must prove all of the elements in order to secure a conviction.
- offering, giving, promising, or accepting
- money, goods, property, or other valuable thing,
- to/by a public official or other public officer
- with knowledge of his or her public position, and
- the intent to influence his or her official action, vote or decision. (OUJI-CR 3-5)
The crime lies in the offer itself and doesn’t hinge upon whether the offer is accepted. Likewise, it is the intent of the offeror that is important to the crime. The offer must be made with the intent to influence the public official. The intent of the public official is not at issue.
There are numerous statutes that you could be charged under if you are being charged with bribery. These may affect jail time and the defenses that may be available to you. It is important to hire and work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to build a strong defense.
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