Texas Penal Code 32.43 – Commercial Bribery
WHAT IS COMMERCIAL BRIBERY IN TEXAS?
The Texas law against commercial bribery prohibits a corporation’s or other entity’s trusted fiduciary from soliciting, accepting, or agreeing to accept a benefit from another in exchange for favorable dealings or influence, without authorization from the business, corporation, or other entity. The person who offers, confers, or agrees to confer the benefit may also be charged with commercial bribery.
WHAT IS THE COMMERCIAL BRIBERY LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Penal Code § 32.43. COMMERCIAL BRIBERY.
(b) A person who is a fiduciary commits an offense if, without the consent of his beneficiary, he intentionally or knowingly solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit from another person on agreement or understanding that the benefit will influence the conduct of the fiduciary in relation to the affairs of his beneficiary.
(c) A person commits an offense if he offers, confers, or agrees to confer any benefit the acceptance of which is an offense under Subsection (b).
(d) An offense under this section is a state jail felony.
(e) In lieu of a fine that is authorized by Subsection (d), and in addition to the imprisonment that is authorized by that subsection, if the court finds that an individual who is a fiduciary gained a benefit through the commission of an offense under Subsection (b), the court may sentence the individual to pay a fine in an amount fixed by the court, not to exceed double the value of the benefit gained. This subsection does not affect the application of Section 12.51(c) to an offense under this section committed by a corporation, an association, a limited liability company, or another business entity.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR COMMERCIAL BRIBERY IN TEXAS?
Commercial bribery is a state jail felony, punishable by 180 days to two years in a state jail facility.
If the accused is a corporation, association, limited liability company, or other business entity not subject to imprisonment, the criminal penalty is the greater of: (1) a maximum fine of $20,000; or (2) double the amount of the monetary benefit the company received from the bribery.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR COMMERCIAL BRIBERY IN TEXAS?
The punishment range for commercial bribery, a state jail felony, is 180 days to two years in a state jail facility, and a maximum fine of $10,000.
The maximum fine for a corporation or other business entity facing criminal charges is increased to $20,000, or if the entity received a monetary gain as a result of committing bribery, a fine not to exceed double the amount of ill-gotten gains.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR COMMERCIAL BRIBERY IN TEXAS?
A person charged with commercial bribery may be eligible for probation after a conviction, or deferred adjudication without a conviction, for a period between two and five years.
If an entity is convicted of commercial bribery, a court may order the corporation or business entity to give notice of the conviction to any person the court deems appropriate.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO COMMERCIAL BRIBERY IN TEXAS?
The statute does not authorize specific defenses to commercial bribery. A person accused thereof may assert any defense in an attempt to negate at least one of the elements the State must prove at trial. For example, the State must show the accused fiduciary accepted a benefit and agreed to let it influence his conduct in relation to the affairs of his beneficiary, so a person may argue he was not acting in his capacity as a fiduciary at the time he accepted a benefit.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR COMMERCIAL BRIBERY IN TEXAS?
The limitation period for commercial bribery, a state jail felony, is three years.
COMMERCIAL BRIBERY IN TEXAS
Commercial bribery is offering to confer a benefit or agreeing to accept a benefit as a fiduciary, without the beneficiary’s knowledge or authorization, with the intent to influence the fiduciary’s conduct with respect to the beneficiary’s affairs.
TEXAS COMMERCIAL BRIBERY COURT CASES
The case law regarding commercial bribery in Texas illustrates how these cases are prosecuted at the state level. Generally, commercial bribery cases involve conduct that violates several federal laws, so these crimes are prosecuted in federal court.
- In Adegbenro v. State, the defendant was indicted for offering money to a bank employee, a fiduciary, to give him account numbers of other bank customers. He was convicted of commercial bribery, and the appellate court affirmed. The defendant intended to influence the conduct of the fiduciary to harm the bank without the bank’s authorization or knowledge.
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WE FIGHT FOR DISMISSAL
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15
Driving facts involved failing to maintain a single lane and speeding. Client refused breath test and forced law enforcement to obtain search warrant for blood. Blood test result was not used after challenge from Defense, and State waived and abandoned charge.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client was a college student, worried about the collateral consequences of an alcohol offense. After negotiation and review of the traffic stop, the case was dismissed. Client received no criminal conviction. The charge was later expunged and deleted from client’s record.
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15+
Client was involved in minor accident. Client was at fault in accident. A young executive, client was concerned that a criminal conviction for DWI would result in termination. After review of the traffic stop, it was clear the officer lacked probable cause for arrest. State eventually dismissed DWI charge. Client received no criminal conviction.
Client, a military veteran, was facing up to one year in jail. State could not prove intoxication by alcohol, and was prepared to proceed on loss of use by marijuana. After challenging the State to prove that marijuana was ingested at or near time of driving, and that marijuana impaired client’s driving, the State dismissed the case on the day of trial.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Driving facts involved a false claim by police that taillight was out. After challenging the reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop, the State was forced to dismiss the case when video did not match police report. Client has since expunged arrest, and has no criminal record.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client is a public school teacher and faced immediate termination upon conviction. The facts of the case were bad. State was unwilling to budge in negotiation, and matter was set for trial – the last shot at avoiding a conviction and preserving client’s livelihood. State was forced to dismiss on day of trial. Client has no criminal record, and has since expunged the DWI arrest.
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