What is the Law on Bribery in Georgia and What are the Punishments for it?
In today's scenario, legal experts who are working for governments are a worried bunch of people because crimes have moved to new levels. Therefore, they are sweating it out and poring over huge and voluminous law books for finding out ways for preventing crimes from happening. Unfortunately, those who have the intention to commit crimes seem to think much ahead of lawmakers.
They find out innovative ways to commit them so cleverly that neither the police nor the courts can prove their crimes. This does not mean that we do not need laws, as a few conceptually confused people argue. We do need laws but the implementation of laws in a more meticulous manner seems to be the need of the hour.
Especially, the proliferation of bribery crimes appears to be a huge issue for governments. The USA is not an exception to this scenario. That is the reason the Federal government, as well as the state governments, are keeping a close watch on the happenings on the bribery crime front. Let us now look into the bribery laws in Georgia and how the punishments courts award act as a deterrent for those who are used to committing this crime.
What is bribery according to Georgia laws?
According to Georgia laws, the following are the elements of bribery crime.
1. The offer of money or a gift.
2. Intent to influence in a corrupt manner.
3. The official status or position of the person who offers the bribe.
There seems to be a confusion in the minds of a few people. They think that influencing a legislative action and bribery are similar crimes. In reality, these offenses are separate. According to Georgia laws, citizens have the right to influence public officers. But they cannot try to buy the official acts of a public officer.
Georgia laws mention that there are two ways in which a bribery crime can take place. In the first method, a person gives or accepts to give an official acting for the state or a political subdivision of the state or on behalf of the state or a political subdivision of the state, or an agency either of the state or its political subdivision, any reward, consideration, or benefit to which the official has no entitlement, with an intention to influence the official to perform an act related to his or her functions in his or her official position.
The second method in which a bribery crime occurs is when a public official, either appointed or elected, or an employee working for the state, or an agency, entity, or authority of the state, or a county or a municipality, or an agency, entity, or authority of the county or municipality, solicits, seeks, accepts, receives, or agrees to receive money or a gift of value by making a gullible person believes that it will influence his or her performance of an official action or his or her failure to perform an official action.
Who are the public officials covered by Georgia bribery laws?
According to Georgia laws, legislators, municipal officers, municipal council members, postal workers, city general council members, police officers, and judges are public officials.
What should be proved for convicting a person of a bribery crime?
The state has to prove that a person is guilty beyond doubt of a reasonable degree. The whole exercise of proving the crime must take into account all the elements of bribery crime. The elements are:
1. There should be an offer of money or a gift.
2. There should be an intention to corruptly influence.
3. The person whom the defendant tries to influence should be a public official.
Even if one of the elements is missing, the court cannot pronounce that the crime is bribery.
Penalties for bribery crimes in Georgia.
A person whom the court convicts of having committed a bribery crime will get a punishment of imprisonment for a period that ranges from one year and twenty years or a fine of an amount up to $5,000, or both. Georgia laws consider bribery as a felony crime and that is the reason courts award such punishments to the convicts.