If you’ve been charged with bribery of a witness, you could face serious prison time. Even if you haven’t been formally charged, if you are being questioned in relation to a bribery charge, you should be retaining the services of an attorney. The attorney can talk to you about your rights and legal options.
What is Bribery of a Witness?
A person can be charged with bribing a witness when that person offers a benefit to the witness in exchange for a certain testimony or to avoid testimony in an action or proceeding.
For example, if a witness was set to testify in a case against John Doe and Doe offered the witness $5,000 to miss the trial, that would be considered bribing a witness.
Bribery of a witness falls under New York Penal Law §215.00. A person who offers a bribe can be charged with other crimes too. Tampering with a witness might also be a charge filed against someone who tries to bribe a witness.
Bribery Received by a Witness
The witness who takes money in exchange for testimony or to skip a proceeding can be charged under New York Penal Law §215.05. The code of law is different, but the consequences are as tough for someone receiving or offering a bribe to a witness. It’s also against the law to seek a bribe.
You’ve Been Charged with Bribery
Whether you’ve been charged with bribery or a more serious crime like tampering with a witness, you’ll need an attorney to advise you on your rights as well as mounting a defense against the charges.
When the prosecutor wants to try someone for bribery, often he’ll bring in experts in the accounting field. To defend against bribery, the defense will have to hire experts of their own. Financial audits might need to be planned to trace the exchange of money. The defense needs to be prepared for any moves by the prosecution too.
All of this happens when a defendant hires a skilled legal team to mount a defense. When charged with bribery, there are other charges that the prosecutor will try to prove. Bribery is usually dealt with harshly by the courts, and you’ll need an experienced team of lawyers.
Consequences for Bribery Charges
Bribing a witness is a class D felony. In New York, there are 6 classes of felonies from E to A, with A being the most serious. The sentences for each felony ranges depending on the violence of the charges.
When convicted of a class D felony, the defendant has a chance to spend up to 7 years in prison. This type of sentence is indeterminate, which means that it could be at least one year, but no more than 7 years.
For a determinate sentence, a class D felony would be 2 to 7 years in prison. A determinate sentence is usually given to felonies involving violence or drugs.
Along with the prison sentence, a person convicted of bribing a witness can face fines no higher than $5,000.
If you’ve been charged or are about to be charged with bribing a witness, you’ll need to hire a skilled and experienced team of lawyers to represent you.