Crimes for Bribery in Florida

Under Section 838.015(1), F.S., the term “bribery” is defined to mean:

“…to knowingly and intentionally give, offer, or promise to any public servant, or, if a public servant, to knowingly and intentionally request, solicit, accept, or agree to accept for himself or herself or another, any pecuniary or other benefit not authorized by law with an intent or purpose to influence the performance of any act or omission which the person believes to be, or the public servant represents as being, within the official discretion of a public servant, in violation of a public duty, or in performance of a public duty.”

Under Section 838.015, F.S., any person who commits bribery commits a felony of the second degree punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in Florida State Prison.

Related crimes include:

  • Unlawful Compensation or Reward for Official Behavior –
    • Section 838.016 makes it a second degree felony to corruptly giving, offering, or promising any benefit to a public servant, or for a public servant to request, solicit, accept, or agree to accept any benefit for the past, present, or future performance or non-performance of any act.
  • Official Misconduct –
    • Section 838.022 makes it a third degree felony to falsify, destroy, or alterany official document or record with the intent to harm or defraud. It is classified as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
  • Commercial Bribery –
    • Section 838.16 makes it a third degree felony to influence an individual who has a duty under Section 838.15.
  • Bid Tampering –
    • Section 838.22 makes it a second degree felony to influence or attempt to influence the competitive solicitation process for governmental procurement through unlawful means.

Attorney for Bribery in Florida

If you were accused of bribing a public official, unlawful compensation for official behavior, official misconduct, commercial bribery, or bid tampering, contact an attorney at Sammis Law Firm.

We can explain how criminal investigations are conducted, the ethical standards for public officials, and investigations by the Florida Commission on Ethics.

Visit our main office in downtown Tampa, FL. We also have offices in Clearwater and New Port Richey.

To speak with an attorney, call 813-250-0500.

Florida’s Standards for Public Officials

The standards of conduct for public officers, agency employees, and local government attorneys are explained in Chapter 112. For example, Section 112.313, F.S., which provides:

No public officer, employee of an agency, local government attorney, or candidate for nomination or election shall solicit or accept anything of value to the recipient, including a gift, loan, reward, promise of future employment, favor, or service, based upon any understanding that the vote, official action, or judgment of the public officer, employee, local government attorney, or candidate would be influenced thereby.

Additionally, Section 112.313(4), F.S, provides:

No public officer, employee of an agency, or local government attorney or his or her spouse or minor child shall, at any time, accept any compensation, payment, or thing of value when such public officer, employee, or local government attorney knows, or, with the exercise of reasonable care, should know, that it was given to influence a vote or other action in which the officer, employee, or local government attorney was expected to participate in his or her official capacity.

For purposes of Florida’s bribery statute, the term “public officer” is defined in Section 112.313(1), F.S., to mean “any person elected or appointed to hold office in an agency.”

Complaints to Florida Commission on Ethics

As provided by Section 112.322, F.S., if a complaint alleging that a public officer has violated subsections (2) or (4) of section 112.313, F.S., the Commission on Ethics (Commission) has jurisdiction to investigate the complaint. If the Commission finds that a violation has occurred, the Commission may recommend appropriate action to the agency or official having the power to impose any penalty provided in s. 112.317, including the following:

  • impeachment
  • removal from office
  • suspension from office
  • public censure and reprimand
  • forfeiture of a portion of salary for a time period, a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000
  • restitution of any pecuniary benefits received because of the violation committed.

This article was last updated on Thursday, June 20, 2024.