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When a gift becomes a bribe

There's a good chance that at some point in your adult life, you have either given or received a gift. Most of the time, these generous acts of kindness are nothing more than a thoughtful gesture. However, occasionally these "gifts" can mean something else. When something of value is given or received in exchange for some type of influence, authorities may consider it bribery.

More often than not, bribes are in the form of money. Occasionally, though, bribes can be in the form of goods, services, privileges, property or favors. Sure, you can give an acquaintance ringside tickets to the year's most talked about boxing event, but beware of what context they are given and what, if anything, you are receiving in exchange.

For a gift to become a bribe, it must be given with the intent to influence the action or decisions of the recipient. Unlike many other crimes, bribery is a two-way street. Typically both the giver and receiver can be charged. Contrary to common belief, a bribery charge does not require a written agreement. If a prosecutor can prove that an offer of something valuable in return for influence took place, half of their battle may be won. Their next hurdle is to show that the exchange was made with the intent to corrupt.

Depending on the sector in which the bribe takes place, whether in the sporting world or corporate or political arena, a bribery conviction can have serious consequences including hefty fines and imprisonment. Fortunately for individuals facing these charges, experienced criminal defense attorneys can help. With their resources and knowledge, these skilled attorneys can dismantle the prosecution's case and defend against allegations of corruption.

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