The political system in the United States is the means by which citizens make their voices heard. Politicians and public officials are tasked with faithfully and honestly representing the ideas of the constituents who elect them. When a public official engages in activities that betray the trust of the public or if they use their political power for personal gain, they may face charges of political corruption.
A conviction for charges of public corruption can mean serious, long-lasting consequences for the convicted person. Not only can public and government officials lose esteem in the eyes of the public, they can also be expelled from their office and face possible prison time and fines.
Types of Political Corruption Charges
There are many ways that a political official can be charged with corruption. For example, if a public official who is responsible for overseeing funds and financial records falsifies documents to obscure illegal transactions, that official may face corruption charges. Another example would be a city or state official accepting money in exchange for favorable political treatment or for casting a vote a certain way. This could also bring charges of corruption. Some other examples of political corruption can include:
- Embezzlement: This activity occurs when a public official diverts money reserved for official purposes into their personal accounts for their own use.
- Extortion: This involves a politician or other official using the power of their office to force someone else to provide money, special treatment or other favors. It is also known as “abuse of office.”
- Perjury: If a public official intentionally and knowingly provides false testimony while under oath in a court of law, they could face charges of perjury in Texas.
- Fraud: Using the power of a public office to misrepresent, cover up or falsify documents or information in order to obtain personal benefit constitutes a fraud crime and is a punishable offense.
Attorneys who specialize in defending public officials who have been charged with political corruption can be a valuable asset in a corruption case. These attorneys generally have extensive experience that helps them to prepare a sound defense against corruption charges.
Defending Against Accusations of Corruption in Politics
Corruption defense attorneys know that the prosecution must prove every element of their case beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction. Using this knowledge, a political corruption defense attorney can examine the prosecution’s case for any mistake or inconsistency, no matter how minor, that may cause the judge to have the charges reduced or even dismissed. A solid defense against public corruption charges may be difficult, but expert legal advice can help.