What is the Law on Bribery in South Dakota and What are the Punishments for it?
Bribery is the act of giving a bribe, which is nothing but a gift, money, or anything of value to someone to influence that person to do something favorable. For example, someone giving money to a judge to influence that judge to give a decision in his favor is an act of bribery. Similarly, giving money to a public servant so that he awards the contract to you is again bribery where you are giving something of value to influence the decision of a public servant.
Bribery law in South Dakota and the punishment for it
The South Dakota Codified Laws Title 22 on Crime has Chapter 12 A that deals with improprieties and bribery in public office. Article 22-12A-1 to 22-12A-18 deals with bribery.
Any person who gives, agrees to give, or offers a gratuity or reward in consideration that the person be appointed to a public office or carry out the duties of a public office is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. In the same way, the person receiving a gratuity or reward to appoint another person or procuring one’s employment is also guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The punishment for this is imprisonment for up to 1 year and up to $2,000 in fines.
Bribing or unlawfully influencing a legislator to vote, withhold a vote, or not attend an assembly session or a committee meeting is an offense. The legislator who accepts the bribe to vote, withhold vote, or not attend a meeting is also guilty of the offense. Under South Dakota law, this is a Class 4 felony. A conviction can result in imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine of up to $20,000.
Bribery of a public official to influence his work and make him act, or decide in a particular way is a Class 4 felony under the South Dakota law. A public officer who solicits or accepts a bribe to be influenced in his decision or action is guilty of bribery that is a Class 4 felony. A conviction can lead to imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine of up to $20,000.
Soliciting an unauthorized fee by a public servant to do an official service, other than charges officially permitted is considered guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. In the same way, a public officer who solicits or accepts a bribe to omit or defer doing an official duty is also guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The punishment if convicted would be imprisonment for up to 1 year and a fine of up to $2,000.
When it comes to the judicial system, anyone who offers or agrees to offer a bribe to a judicial officer or juror to influence their decision or action is guilty of a Class 4 felony. The juror or judicial officer who solicits or accepts the bribe is also guilty of a Class 4 felony. They would be forever disqualified from holding public office and as per law face imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine of up to $20,000.
Any witness in official proceedings who accepts or solicits a bribe is guilty of a Class 6 felony. A conviction under South Dakota law can lead to a maximum of 2 years imprisonment with a fine of up to $4,000.
The law in South Dakota on bribery is fairly extensive and includes apart from bribery even bribing witnesses. It clearly and explicitly lays down the acts for which a person can face conviction. Like in most places, the person giving the bribe and accepting the bribe are both guilty of bribery.