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What are the differences between bribery and gratuity?

Posted by Ann Fitz | May 19, 2022 | 0 Comments

Florida residents arrested for certain types of white-collar crimes should take the charges against them seriously. It's important to get help and recognize the differences between bribery and gratuity.

What is bribery?

Bribery is a white-collar crime that is committed when a person offers something to someone in exchange for something that benefits them. It's used in both public and political corruption and carries an intent on the part of the individual making the bribe. For example, offering money to a public official in exchange for them turning a blind eye to a crime that will be committed in the future is considered bribery. It doesn't matter if the public official agrees and accepts the money as the person offering it has committed bribery. However, if the public official does agree and accepts cash in exchange for their secrecy, they, too, are considered to have committed the crime.

What is gratuity?

Gratuity is a white-collar crime that is committed after the fact. It involves giving a public official a gift after a crime was committed. Using the example of the public official being offered cash in exchange for staying quiet about a crime, the difference is that the crime would have to have already taken place before the money is offered or given. This is known as illegal gratuity.

What is the difference between these offenses?

While both bribery and gratuity are federal offenses and involve the exchange of money for some type of favor, they have a notable difference: bribery sees money being exchanged before another crime is committed. Gratuity involves money being given after another crime has already been committed, usually to buy another person's silence or to get them to lie about that crime.

Bribery also involves intent or a quid pro quo. Gratuity doesn't involve a quid pro quo but offers something after the fact.

An arrest on charges of bribery or gratuity are both serious. If you face either of these charges, take action to protect your rights.

About the Author

Ann Fitz

Attorney Ann Fitz Attorney Ann Fitz has 20 years of experience as a federal criminal attorney and appellate practice attorney.  She began her career as a prosecutor in 2003 and started her own federal criminal defense practice in 2007.  She is devoted to protecting the rights of the accused in f...


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