It is illegal for a public official to aid, abet, assist, or attempt to commit a crime in connection with their role as a public official. Public officials include elected officials, appointed officials, public agency members, and other state or federal employees acting under official right.  Types of corruption crimes include:

  • Embezzlement of public funds
  • Theft from the state
  • Accepting of bribes as a public official

What Penalties Can a Public Official Face?

If a public official is determined to be corrupt, he or she can be punished in any number of ways. The laws vary from state to state, but common forms of punishment include: 

  • Termination
  • Imprisonment
  • Fines
  • Loss of pay or benefits
  • Loss of retirement benefits

There are several factors that may enhance the punishment for accepting a bribe as a public official. If the official works in customs or border patrol, or issues identification or immigration documents, they may receive an enhanced penalty. This is in response to the increased security of our borders brought on by the threat of terrorism.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you have been charged with bribery or any other form of corruption, a criminal defense attorney can advise you of your legal rights and defenses and guide you through the complicated legal process.