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Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

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Bribery in Illinois: A Breakdown of the Laws

Have you been charged with bribery in Illinois? Are you under investigation? Do you just want to understand how the law works to make sure you’re abiding by it?

 

In this post, we’re going to detail laws and associated penalties, and cover what you can do to fight back if you do find yourself getting unwanted attention from law enforcement.

 

 

How Illinois Bribery Laws Work

 

How big of a deal is bribery here? It’s one of the most serious white collar crimes on the books – so much so that our state has three different statutes that cover it:

 

720 ILCS 5/33-1. Bribery

720 ILCS 5/29-1. Offering a bribe

720 ILCS 5/29A‑1. Commercial bribery

 

In all cases, bribery involves illegally offering something to influence another’s conduct.

 

How do they differ?

 

720 ILCS 5/33-1. This type of bribery makes it illegal to attempt to influence a public officer, employee, juror, or witness.

 

Charge: Class 2 felony.

 

720 ILCS 5/29-1. This statute is about bribery in sports (pro, amateur, and college), as well as any “interscholastic competition.”

 

Charge: depending on the circumstances, could be a Class A misdemeanor or Class 4 felony.

 

720 ILCS 5/29A‑1. Commercial bribery, in essence, is about bribing someone else’s employee to alter their conduct in relation to their employer’s affairs.

 

Charge: depending on the circumstances, could be a Class A misdemeanor or Class 3 felony.

 

The nuances of each law can get a bit complicated, and your best bet if you are charged is to consult with a knowledgeable Chicago criminal lawyer as soon as possible.

 

To give you a better sense of this, though, let’s dive a bit further into the nuts and bolts of 720 ILCS 5/33-1. Where this statute is concerned, someone can be charged for:

 

• Making a promise of personal advantage or giving property to a person who is not lawfully able to accept the property or advantage.

 

• Making a promise of personal advantage or giving property to a person who is not lawfully able to accept the property or advantage and who is believed to be a public

officer, public employee, juror or witness.

 

• Making a promise of personal advantage or giving property to a person who is not lawfully able to accept the property or advantage, which causes another person to influence the official actions or functions of a public officer, public employee, juror or witness.

 

• Unlawfully agreeing to accept, receive or retain any personal advantage or property while knowing that it was promised or given with the intent to influence the official actions or functions of a public officer, public employee, juror or witness.

 

• Unlawfully agreeing to accept, receive or retain any personal advantage or property with an understanding that the recipient is expected to influence the official actions or functions of a public officer, public employee, juror or witness.

 

Examples of Bribery in Illinois

 

It may be easier to understand bribery charges by looking at a few specific examples.

 

Here are several to consider.

 

• Paying for a public employee’s vacation so that she will modify official documents for you.

 

• Giving a judge’s family member tickets to a premiere sports event so the judge will rule favorably in your civil case.

 

• Paying a prosecutor to get criminal charges dismissed.

 

• Offering a big discount on a car at your lot if a rival team’s star athlete sits out the game against your alma mater.

 

Chicago Bribery Lawyer

In short, bribery charges are a big deal. Not only can the criminal penalties be incredibly severe, it carries with it a social stigma that can follow you around for the rest of your life, and may derail many business and career opportunities.

 

 

About the Author:

 

Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.

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