26 Jun 20

Corruption Laws, Charges & Statute of Limitations

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Last Updated on: 6th August 2023, 04:29 pm

There are many ways of dividing and categorizing crimes. One of the most common is what are known as white collar crimes. White collar crimes are generally those crimes that do not involve any form of physical harm. They are typically crimes that also require a certain knowledge base and level of education. One of the most serious forms of white collar crimes are what is known as corruption. Both elected officials and all those who represent the state to the public must adhere to the highest possible ethical standards. When those standards are not upheld in every way, the office holder or public employee may face a breach of both ethics and laws governing their conduct.

Corruption is considered an act of abusing power and betraying the public trust. Criminal charges of this sort may be pursued at the state level. All states have anti corruption laws. In general, however, most such cases are prosecuted at the federal level. Most of these charges are leveled at someone who holds public office. These kinds of laws also cover those who engage in this kind of conduct in a way that involves more than one state. Anyone who is facing these kinds of charges should keep in mind these are quite serious. A good attorney is a must.

Required Conduct

Those who represent the federal government have clear conduct guidelines. Of all their duties, one of the most important is to remain impartial and free of even the hint of bribery when deciding laws and how they are going to be enforced under real world circumstances. Government officials are required to avoid asking directly hinting they will accept anything in return for agreeing to alter the duties of their office and favor the person making the offering.

Types of Crimes

Charges of corruption fall into two categories. A federal official may be charged and convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor. The felony is the far more serious charge than a misdemeanor. Someone can be charged with a misdemeanor even if they engaged in accidental or unintended acts of corruption. These are actions that stem from being negligent while on the job or behavior that can be considered reckless. Felony charges of corruption are based on the presumption of deliberate behavior. A person can be charged with both federal and state corruption.

Prosecutors typically find two types of misbehavior when on the job. The first is bribery. Bribery is when someone offers something to the public official in turn for favorable actions on their part. Two people need to be involved for a charge of bribery. As such, this can also fall under federal conspiracy charges.

The second typical kind corruption is graft. Graft is a formal term that means the person was trying to get access to funds they were not entitled to under law. A person may accept a bribe in order to provide someone else with public money. Bribery, graft and corruption are linked in the law and may form part of a series of charges brought by the prosecutor.

Expected Punishment

This kind of crime is considered a white collar crime that usually does not involve any kind of harm to another person. That means the defendant is probably not going to be sent to a maximum security prison facility. At the same time, prison and fines are likely to be part of any sentencing offer. The convicted defendant can expect to be required to pay back all of the money obtained fraudulently with interest. In addition, they can also expect a fine. If the person is convicted of corruption charges large enough to fall in the category of grand larceny, they can face additional charges on top of the accusations of corruption.

Federal statues prohibit charges of corruption after five years. However, any kind of accusation of this type may trigger a full scale federal investigation into the person’s actions for as long as they have been part of the federal government. Close examination of the person’s prior actions may reveal potential corruption even if it was unintentional. An attorney can make sure the defendant’s legal interests are completed protected.