Commercial bribery cases are common in Nevada. In Nevada, a commercial bribery case occurs when you, as an employee, accept or solicit a gift or valuable item in exchange for your current position to unlawfully benefit another person. According to the law, commercial bribery is a severe offense that might attract felony charges. Therefore, when law enforcement officers charge you with a crime, you want to seek legal help immediately.
At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, we have helped many people facing bribery charges, including commercial bribery, win their cases. If you choose to work with our legal expert, we will evaluate your case and do everything possible to ensure you obtain the best outcomes in your case. If you seek to work with us in Las Vegas, NV, we are ready to help you.
The Legal Meaning of Commercial Bribery in Nevada
According to NRS 207.295, "commercial bribery" occurs when you, as an employee, accept or solicit a bribe from someone else to use your employment position to illegally benefit them. To face conviction for the crime, the prosecutor must prove the elements of the crime. The following are the key elements of commercial bribery:
- You were an active employee of a company.
- You took the property above $250 from another person apart from your employer.
- You used your position to exchange it with a third party to benefit yourself.
Forms of Commercial Bribery
In Nevada, commercial bribery may take place in different ways. The following are the common types of commercial bribery in Nevada:
Bribery of Public Officials - NRS 197.020
Per Nevada laws, bribery of a public official involves giving a public officer a promise or money. In exchange, the official refrains from carrying out the law's requirements. The term "public" includes all individuals serving in government positions. Court officials are also included. So when charged for committing this form of bribery, you end up facing commercial bribery charges.
Witness Bribery - NRS 199.240
According to NRS 199.240, the law makes it illegal to bribe a court witness to influence their testimony in court. Whether the reward or payment consists of property, favor, or money does not matter. The law considers the offense a felony. You might remain behind bars for up to ten years when convicted of committing the crime.
Again, it is also a criminal offense for the witness to accept or solicit a bribe from a person to change their statement, fails to appear for the scheduled court dates, or withhold material information. When you accept the bribe, you might face harsh penalties, including jail terms of 48 months.
Bribery by an Executive Official
According to the law, it is an offense to bribe an executive official. The law outlines it as an offense for a public employee, executive official, or ministerial officer to agree, take, or request bribery to interfere with decision-making in their offices. When you are an executive officer and receive a bribe, you face a felony charge. So, you might face a jail term of up to four years.
Bribery Involving Jurors or Judges - NRS 199.010
According to NRS 199.010, bribing a judge, jurors, or any other person in the legal system is a criminal offense. The law considers bribing judges or jurors a felony offense. When convicted of committing the crime, you might face lengthy jail terms, including a four-year jail term.
Again, it is a criminal offense for the judge to request or solicit a bribe to influence their opinion or actions. When the judge is accused of accepting or asking for a bribe, they might face jail terms of up to four years.
The Legal Penalties of Commercial Bribery in Nevada
If found guilty of committing commercial bribery in Nevada, the potential penalties you face depend on the amount and value of the bribe. In many cases, the law considers the offense a misdemeanor charge. Although the punishment for the crime is not severe, it can tarnish your reputation. So, ensure you work with your attorney immediately after the arrest.
Also, the misdemeanor charge attracts jail terms of up to 6 months. The law allows your employer to file a claim against you in civil court for the damages they incur because of your actions. You also pay restitution fees when the employee wins the case against you.
What Should You Expect When the Police Charge You with Commercial Bribery in Nevada?
In many cases, employers usually report cases of commercial bribery to the respective authorities. Also, law enforcement officers can start an investigation. An employer can suspect ongoing commercial bribery in their business when they notice the following:
- Incomplete hospitality and travel expenses.
- An increase in purchases, mainly those needing to meet the organization's needs.
- The workers need help with handling certain vendors and suppliers.
- Questionable invoices.
When your employer finds that you are engaged in commercial bribery in their organization, you will most likely lose your current job and face charges for committing the crime. After the employer reports you to the respective authority, the law enforcement officers start investigations before they prepare a police report. After doing so, they present the report to the prosecution team. The prosecutor could file the charges or fail to file them.
If the prosecution team files the case, you start the criminal process immediately. The criminal process will begin with your arrest. After the arrest, the police will book you in custody. The second legal process will be a court arraignment. During the arraignment, the criminal court will decide whether to release you after posting bail.
The next step will involve the investigators visiting your family and investigating your personal life. They will examine your lifestyle when the commercial bribery case occurs. For example, they will explore your vacations, food types, financial changes, and clothes you bought.
For the court to establish a felony or misdemeanor charge, the investigators' evidence will be crucial. So, if you want to speak with your attorney immediately, you face a criminal charge. Your attorney may try to convince the prosecutor to reduce the charge or challenge the presented evidence during pre-trial.
The negotiations might result in a reduced charge, dismissal of the charge, or a conviction. If the case is not handled at the pre-trial stage, it proceeds to trial. Your criminal defense attorney will present evidence at the trial before the jury or judge. Also, the prosecutor will present the evidence gathered against you.
Can You Face the Charges of Commercial Bribery at the Federal Courthouse?
The federal courts occasionally deal with cases of commercial bribery. Remember, the federal courts must deal with high-dollar offers, white-collar crimes, and highly complex crimes. Therefore, you might face charges in the federal courts.
The federal investigators started investigating when the commercial bribery case spread across other states and greatly affected the community. If the federal investigations start, it might take months before the defendant knows they are being investigated. The investigators might conduct company audits or receive details via subpoenas.
Depending on the seriousness and scope of the crime, numerous investigators might even conduct the investigation. When the federal investigators file the charge, you will be ineligible to expunge your criminal record.
You can also face a federal charge even if you are unaware of the commercial bribery scheme in your organization. So, if you find yourself behind bars, you want to speak with your attorney immediately. The attorney will offer you advice and guidance on what steps to take next.
The Potential Legal Defenses
In Nevada, commercial bribery can result in job loss and challenges in securing a new job. Employers will likely fear you for committing illegal acts that might end their business. Your current employer may also fire you for engaging in unlawful activities.
Hiring a criminal defense attorney on your side is an excellent step in defending your rights. Ensure you are open with your attorney when discussing your side of the story. The attorney can employ various defenses to fight the charges. The possible defenses include:
Lack of Intent
The first defense you can use to fight a commercial bribery charge is your intent to commit the crime. Your intent to commit the offense is one of the critical elements the prosecutor must prove in a commercial bribery case. The prosecutor must show your intent to commit the crime. However, if you did not commit the crime intending to exchange services, you can argue you did not intend to commit the crime.
The police might be eager to arrest the suspects in commercial bribery in Nevada. Although the defense is rarely used to defend bribery charges, you can still use it in some instances. Your attorney can recommend when to apply for the defense.
You want to prove that law enforcement officers tempted you to commit the offense. You must show that you could not have committed the crime under normal circumstances. When you offer enough evidence, the judge can drop the case.
Before you face conviction, the prosecution team must prove all the elements of the crime. The prosecutor may contest the evidence the criminal defense attorney has presented because establishing the elements is difficult. If the prosecutor fails to gather enough evidence, the judge may decide to drop the charges. Additionally, your criminal defense lawyer may question the veracity of the prosecutor's evidence.
Sometimes the receiver of the money could be subject to coercion. The defendant could have threatened the victim to commit the unlawful acts. If this is your situation, your criminal defense attorney can argue that you did not have the evidence to commit the offense. However, you must present supportive evidence to show that you are a victim of coercion.
You can use the defense of voluntary intoxication to argue that you committed the offense because of intoxication. For example, you were at a party with your friends. After having several drinks, you offer them money in exchange for something else. In this situation, you cannot face conviction for commercial bribery. Intoxication prevents you from developing the intent to commit a particular crime.
False allegations are popular in commercial bribery cases. A person may decide to be accused of committing commercial bribery out of anger, malice, or revenge. Again, your employer can falsely accuse you if a deal does not go through, and they do not want to be held accountable.
For example, the boss is supposed to hire a contractor over another contractor; however, when the deal goes sour, they may accuse you. In this case, you become the victim of false accusations. When you strongly support your claim, the judge may decide to drop the charges.
Can You Expunge the Criminal Record?
In Nevada, expungement depends on whether you face a felony or misdemeanor charge. If you face a misdemeanor charge, the law allows you to delete the criminal record after meeting the legal requirements. The requirements include completing your probation sentence.
Also, enough time must have passed after your conviction. Discuss this with your attorney to help you understand the expungement process. If you wish to delete criminal records, ensure you seek help from your criminal defense attorney. The attorney will help you determine whether you qualify for the expungement. Also, the attorney will discuss the possible benefits of deleting your criminal records.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
The law in Nevada treats bribery cases as severe offenses. The conviction can significantly affect your future. When charged with bribery, you face severe charges, including extensive jail terms and difficulties finding a new job.
So, the consequences can significantly impact your personal life. Therefore, when you face a charge, you want to seek legal help as soon as possible. At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, we are determined to work with you.
We investigate your case, collect evidence, and call witnesses to help challenge the prosecutors' evidence. We are here for you if you seek our services in Las Vegas, NV. Contact us today at 702-380-4278 and speak with one of our aggressive criminal defense attorneys.