Why is Bribery Illegal in Michigan? Aren’t You Just Paying For Help?

cash in handcuffed hands
We tend to think of bribery as something that only happens in other countries, but bribery and corruption are alive and well right here in Michigan!

What is bribery? It’s one person paying another person (or group of people) for a service they’ll provide – in most cases, it’s a service they wouldn’t have provided without the incentive of cash or something else of value. But isn’t that the foundation of all business? Aren’t we always just paying people and businesses for the goods and services they provide (which they wouldn’t have provided if we hadn’t been willing to pay?) How is it any different than a regular business transaction?

Bribery isn’t the same thing as just paying someone for something…

When you bribe someone, it’s usually because you’re offering them money in exchange for something they’re NOT supposed to give you, or a service they’re NOT ALLOWED to provide for you. Examples of that could include:

  • Paying a juror in a court case to vote a certain way, which can influence the outcome of a trial.
  • Paying a police officer to implicate a specific person during an investigation, or bury evidence so that a certain person isn’t implicated.
  • Paying a Judge to make a certain ruling in a case.
  • Paying a professional sports player to “throw” a game, or lose a match so that the team or individual of your choosing wins.
  • Paying a teacher or education official to alter test scores or grades so that a certain person can pass a class, or a grade they would have otherwise failed.

Bribery is considered both unethical and illegal in Michigan.

When it comes to bribing public officials, Michigan has very specific laws. The term ‘public official’ refers to someone whose job puts them in an important position in a community. Someone whose authority gives them power over other people, or situations that could directly affect other people (like cops, judges and legislators). For that reason, public officials need to be trustworthy. Accepting bribes, or allowing their authority to be corrupted or ‘bought,’ means they’re no longer impartial representatives of the people in whatever capacity they serve.

Accepting a bribe can get you into a lot of trouble!

Any legislative , executive, or judicial officer who corruptly accepts any gift or gratuity—or any promise to make any gift to the officer under an agreement that:

  • An opinion, vote, judgment, or proceedings in his or her official capacity will be handled in any particular manner; or
  • That in such capacity he or she will make any particular appointment or nomination, will forfeit his or her office, and be disqualified forever from holding any public office, appointment, or trust in Michigan.

What are the consequences for offering or accepting bribes in Michigan?

The person offering the bribe could be charged with a felony with a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison, a fine up to $5,000.00, or both. If the bribery took place in connection with a criminal case where the defendant is facing a felony charge punishable by 10 years or more, then the punishment for the bribery charge increases to 10 years as well! Anyone accepting a bribe can face up to 10 years in prison, and a fine up to $5,000.00.

Have you been accused of offering or accepting bribes in Michigan?

At The Kronzek Firm, we understand how quickly accusations about bribery can turn into assumptions about someone’s guilt, destroy your reputation and costing you your job. So if you’ve been accused of bribing someone, or accepting a bribe from someone, we can help you! Our highly skilled and experienced trial team works tirelessly to help our clients avoid prison, severe fines, and loss of reputation. We offer a free initial consultation with a highly regarding criminal defense attorney at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) for those ready to step up their game and hire a tough defense lawyer.  

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