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The Florida Bar



The definition of bribery is “corruptly to give, offer, or promise to any public servant, or, if a public servant, corruptly to request, solicit, accept, or agree to accept for himself or herself or another, any pecuniary or other benefit not authorized by law with an intent or purpose to influence the performance of any act or omission which the person believes to be, or the public servant represents as being, within the official discretion of a public servant, in violation of a public duty, or in performance of a public duty.”

Any person who commits bribery is committing a second degree felony and is punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. This means that:

  • If a person is trying to bribe a public servant or a police officer, the second-degree felony offense holds a harsher penalty than the crime itself.
  • Under the same statue, public officials too can be found guilty of accepting bribes.
Types of Bribery Bribery in Athletic Contests

This kind of bribery refers to giving, promising, offering, or conspiring to give a bribe to anyone who expects to participate or participates in an amateur or professional match, game, contest, sport or race; or to any judge, referee, umpire or official of such a game, with the intention of influencing a predefined decision. This is a third degree felony that is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Bid Tampering

Bid tampering refers to the unlawful act of a corrupt public servant to influence or try to influence the outcome of a competitive bidding process that has been undertaken by any state, county, municipal, or special district agency, or any other public entity, with the intention of procuring commodities or services.

Commercial Bribery

Commercial bribery refers to an incentive or benefit, either monetary or otherwise, given to another person with the intent to influence that other person to violate certain duties that they may be responsible for. This is a third degree felony that is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Commercial Bribe Receiving

If a person solicits, agrees to accept or accepts a benefit or an incentive with the intent to violate common-law or statutory duty to which that person is subject to, it is termed as commercial bribe receiving, is a third degree felony and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Any person can be convicted of commercial bribery receiving such as a guardian, trustee or fiduciary, an employee or agent, a physician, lawyer, appraiser, accountant or professional adviser, a partner, officer, manager, director or a participant in the direction of the affairs of an organization.

Official Misconduct

Official misconduct refers to the unlawful activity of a corrupt public servant to either cause harm to a person or to obtain an incentive or a benefit from them. This could be done with the intention of falsifying an official document or record, or the concealing, destroying, or covering up an official record. Broward County White Collar Crimes Attorney William Moore will be making available 2 hours of criminal defense lecture materials outlining the most notable Florida Official Misconduct cases of the last 5 years in addition to providing in depth criminal defense evaluation and analogy. Said Criminal Defense Videos will be available for download in mid June.

Penalties of Bribery

According to the law, bribing someone to violate a common law duty in a commercial setting or bribing an athletic contest official is a second degree felony. This includes employees, agents, trustees, fiduciaries, guardians, lawyers, other professional advisors, accountants, corporate officers, members of boards of directors, and arbitrators. If any of these people solicit or accept a bribe, it is a third degree felony. Most of these offenses are punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

For more information, contact the White Collar Crimes Attorneys of WilliamMPA and obtain materials that accompany the defense articles in this section.

Reference 2014 Florida Statutes Chapter 838 Bribery; Misuse of Public Office

838.014 Definitions.

838.015 Bribery.

838.016 Unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior.

838.021 Corruption by threat against public servant.

838.022 Official misconduct.

838.12 Bribery in athletic contests.

838.15 Commercial bribe receiving.

838.16 Commercial bribery.

838.21 Disclosure or use of confidential criminal justice information.

838.22 Bid tampering.
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