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The elements needed to prosecute bribery

In Washington, offering or accepting bribes is illegal. Bribes are offered in an attempt to alter the actions of other individuals and are often associated with public and political corruption. In many cases, there is no written evidence of bribery, though the prosecution is usually required to show intent.

Because the act of offering or accepting bribes usually occurs without written evidence, it can be difficult for prosecutors to prove that an agreement was made. For example, a recorded phone call or video showing a person offering money, gifts or special services would be sufficient enough.

When it comes to federal charges, however, there are additional requirements. For example, the individual who is allegedly being bribed must be a "public official" and that there must be an "official act" that was influenced by the bribe, such as a piece of legislation. Further, the public official must have the authority to commit the act. The prosecution will also have to provide proof that the party making the bribe intended to use the bribe as a way to get the desired result and that the payment did actually influence the act.

Because bribery is usually a felony, the consequences could be very severe especially if a person is facing federal charges. In addition to a potential prison sentence and major fines, a person could lose his or her job and be unable to find other employment in the future. As such, a criminal law attorney could mount a strong defense against the charges or discuss other options available depending on the evidence the prosecution has.

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