Missouri imposes serious penalties for both offering and accepting bribes. Bribery involves offering money or another benefit to a public servant in exchange for favorable treatment or action by that person.
Review the specifics of bribery and common actions that may fall into this category.
Offering a bribe
Any indirect or direct benefit given or agreed to be given to a public servant constitutes a bribe if the person in question will in return:
- Exercise an act of his or her discretion
- Make a decision, recommendation or judgment
- Offer a specific opinion or vote
- Otherwise violate his or her duty of public service
The state would consider this scenario bribery even if the public servant does not actually have the authority or jurisdiction to complete one of these action.
The benefit in a bribe does not have to be cash. Often, these charges result from offering favors, special treatment, services, gifts or property. The benefit can often be intangible, such as the promise of support or influence.
Accepting a bribe
A public servant commits bribery if he or she agrees to accept, accepts or solicits a bribe in exchange for one of the actions above. As with offering a bribe, the offender need not have jurisdiction or authority to commit acceptance of a bribe. He or she may be an elected public official or a government worker.
Missouri categorizes either offering or accepting a bribe as a Class E felony offense. If convicted, an individual could receive up to $10,000 in fines or possible jail time.