What is the Law on Bribery in New Hampshire and What are the Punishments for it?
Corruption is a crime conducted by a government official at the county, state, and federal level for personal gain. Similarly, a person working in a private business organization might also indulge in corruption if he abuses his position for his personal profit and to the detriment of the organization and its key stakeholders like shareholders, other employees, and customers.
The law on bribery in the state of New Hampshire is broadly divided into two types, viz. bribery in official and political matters and commercial bribery.
Bribery in Official and Political Matters in New Hampshire
The law of bribery in New Hampshire is covered in Section 640:2 of Chapter 640 of the 2015 New Hampshire revised statutes. A person will be guilty of indulging in bribery in official and political matters, if he promises or delivers a pecuniary benefit to another person with the objective of impacting other’s action, decision, recommendation, vote, opinion, and nomination. Under the New Hampshire bribery law, the pecuniary benefit is defined as an advantage in the form of money, physical property, commercial benefit, or any other kind of benefit. A person is also guilty of bribery in official and political matters if he promises or exercises discretion as a government official, party official, or a voter.
A person will also be guilty of bribery in official and political matters, if by being a party official, public servant, voter, or a candidate for an electoral office fails to report to a law enforcement official that he has been offered a pecuniary benefit in return for a favor.
Punishment for Bribery in Official and Political Matters in New Hampshire
Bribery in official and political matters is a Class B felony in New Hampshire. A person convicted of a Class B felony will face imprisonment between 3.5 years and 7 years. Class B felony can also attract a fine of $4,000 and five years of probation.
1. A person will be guilty of commercial bribery when without the approval of the employer or principal:
- Confers or agrees to confer a benefit upon an employee, fiduciary, or agent with the objective of influencing his/her conduct that can adversely impact the affairs of the employer/fiduciary.
- He, being an employee or agent accepts or agrees to accept any benefit from another person that can impact his conduct in relation to the affairs of his principal.
2. A person will also be guilty of commercial bribery if he projects himself to the public as being engaged in the business of making a disinterested selection or criticism of goods and solicits or agrees to accept a favor to impact his review, criticism, or appraisal.
Punishment for Commercial Bribery in New Hampshire
Commercial bribery is punished either as a Class A or Class B felony. Commercial bribery is treated as a Class A felony if the value of the benefit received in both paragraphs 1 and 2 exceeds $1,500. Class A felonies are considered as the most serious criminal offenses. A person convicted of a Class A felony will face imprisonment between 7 years and 15 years. Just like a Class B felony, a Class A felony can also attract a fine of $4,000 and five years of probation. Commercial bribery is treated as a Class B felony if the value of the benefit received in both paragraphs 1 and 2 falls between $1,500 and $1,000.
In all other cases, commercial bribery is punished as a misdemeanor. A Class B misdemeanor will attract a fine of $1,200 but no jail term. A Class A misdemeanor will attract a fine of $2,000 and a jail term of up to one year.