Gale Law Group
525 Clifford Street
Corpus Christi, TX 78404


Bribery is defined as the offer or acceptance of something valuable in exchange for influence on a government official or employee, and it can sometimes be referred to as:

  • Greasing the wheels.
  • Paying the piper.
  • Mutual back-scratching.

These and a number of other clever terms all refer to the same act of corruption. Bribes often come in the form of gifts or monetary payments in exchange for favorable treatment (such as being awarded government contracts). Bribery can also involve:

  • Property.
  • Valuables.
  • Privileges.
  • Items of value.
  • Services.
  • Favors.

Bribes are always meant to influence or change the actions of different individuals, and they will often go together with both political and public corruption. There doesn’t have to be a written agreement to prove this type of crime, but a prosecutor must be able to prove “intent of influence.” In most cases, both the person offering the bribe (called the “briber”) and the person accepting it can be charged. Incomplete attempts or even the failure to report conflicts of interest, gifts, or kickbacks received by public officials can also considered a crime.

bribing a judge

The Definition of Bribery in the State of Texas

Bribery crimes in the State of Texas are often linked to political corruption. Offering, conferring, or agreeing to confer a political official or voter for any type of personal benefit is considered illegal. The Texas statute § 36.02 says that it’s illegal to bribe someone else for a benefit to:

  • Make a specific choice (such as a recommendation, opinion, vote, or exercise of discretion) made by a party official, voter, or public servant.
  • Violate their duty as a party official or public servant.
  • Make a specific choice (such as a recommendation, vote, or exercise of formal discretion) in a judicial or administrative proceeding.
  • Convince someone else to do any kind of action that would be considered political corruption.

In Texas, bribery is a crime that’s classified as a second-degree felony, which is punishable by:

  • Up to 20 years in prison.
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000.

Be sure to speak to a qualified attorney for more information.

Types of Bribery Crimes in the State of Texas

Bribery has its own statute, but the State of Texas lists a number of bribery-related offenses. Make sure you’re aware of what types of bribery offenses you’re being charged with, but all of them can lead to severe penalties (which can include incarceration).

Some of the bribery crimes that are listed in the Texas statue include the following:

  • Coercion of a public servant or voter — You have committed this type of bribery offense if you do or attempt to influence a public servant to exercise a specific power or duty, influence a public servant to violate his or her legal duties, or influence a voter to vote in a specific way.
  • Improper influence —Not only is it illegal to influence a political official with gifts or services, but it’s also a crime to influence a political official with words. If you intentionally and privately address a political official about his or her official powers and discretion for an adjudicatory proceeding (which is any proceeding before a court or government agency), you’re committing the crime of bribery in the State of Texas.
  • Tampering with a witness — Bribing a witness or potential witness is a crime in the State of Texas. It’s illegal to coerce any witness to falsely testify as well as to withhold testimony, documents, information or anything that’s relevant to the case. You’re also guilty of this crime if you convince a witness to elude the legal process with testimony of supplemental evidence, not appear at an official proceeding when summoned, as well as to abstain from, discontinue, or delay the prosecution of someone else.

Be sure to speak to a qualified attorney for more information.

Possible Defenses Against Bribery Charges in Texas

If you have been charged with bribery in the State of Texas, the only way to avoid any serious penalties is to keep from getting convicted. That’s why you should hire a defense attorney in these types of situations. Here are some of the most common defense strategies against bribery charges:

  • Mistake of fact (you didn’t do it).
  • Reasonable doubt (there isn’t enough evidence against you).
  • Lack of intent.

When you’re trying to determine which strategy is best for your specific situation, you need to think about what happened. Look at the evidence that the state has against you, and try to remember how the police acted during the initial investigation.

If you’re being charged with bribery and need a criminal defense attorney in Corpus Christi to help you with your case, be sure to get in touch with Gale Law Group.