A person commits bribery if he/she offers, confers any benefit upon a public servant or peace officer with the intent to influence that public servant or peace officer to violate his/her public duty, or oath of office and influencing such officer’s vote, opinion, judgment, exercise of discretion, or other action or inaction in his/her official capacity.[i]
The purpose of a bribe may be to secure a certain action/behavior of an official, or to influence an official to withhold action that he/she must take. A person who pays or accepts unlawful compensation, even for doing an act that the bribee is legally bound to accomplish, he/she will be guilty of bribery.
A bribe can be offered for the purpose of:
- obtaining a certainnomination or appointment to a public office;[ii]
- Corruptly influencing action on an application for a liquor license;[iii]
- Securing copies of examination papers in advance of the examination;
- Influencing a witness in a court proceeding;
- Influencing a juror.
Some statutes criminalize the act of offering something of value in order to influence a public official’s actions.[iv] However, felony bribery is not committed unless the acts of a defendant actually influence a public servant’s or peace officer’s vote, opinion, judgment, exercise of discretion, or other action or inaction in his/her official capacity.
[i] State v. Null, 247 Neb. 192 (Neb. 1995)
[ii] Commonwealth v. Hogan, 249 Mass. 555 (Mass. 1924)
[iii] People v. Bennett, 132 Cal. App. 2d 569 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. 1955)
[iv] State v. Null, 247 Neb. 192 (Neb. 1995)