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Elements of bribery under Ohio law

While Cincinnati residents may think of bribery as involving organized crime bosses paying off police in cash to look the other way while they carry on their criminal activities, the term actually encompasses a lot of other types of behavior as well.

In fact, if one examines Ohio's laws against bribery, one might be able to see how even an upstanding citizen can wind up facing allegations that he or she violated these laws.

Basically, the law prohibits anybody from giving any public official or employee, serving in just about any capacity, money or other things of value in order to get the official to do or refrain from doing something he or she otherwise would not do.

Thus, paying off the police is really an extreme example of bribery. A more real-life example would be a situation in which a businesswoman in the area offers someone in charge of city building permits some Reds tickets with the hint that she would find it great if he could speed along in the permitting process. While it might seem like a skilled business move, such behavior could in fact lead to bribery allegations against both the businesswoman and the city official.

In addition to dealing with a conviction for a felony white collar crime, both could be permanently disqualified from government employment or office.

While all citizens need to be aware of Ohio's laws prohibiting bribery, it usually makes good sense for businesses, and even individuals, to develop good relationships with government officials and other public servants. It is unfortunate that sometimes these relationships can unfairly lead to bribery allegations, and in such cases, a strong criminal defense may be required.

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