Los Angeles Public Corruption Defense Attorneys
Few of us ever expect to be charged with a crime like public corruption. It sounds like something out of a movie or TV show, but a public corruption charge is very real and has very real consequences. Being arrested for public corruption can completely destroy your reputation, not to mention result in a lengthy prison sentence and hefty fines.
Working with a skilled Los Angeles public corruption defense attorney may be your only option when it comes to beating a public corruption charge and getting back home to your family where you belong. We at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP have long worked with people in your exact situation and have become skilled in defending those charged with white collar crimes. To speak to a dedicated and experienced legal team, call our firm at (213) 688-0460. We are ready to fight for you.
While public corruption can sound outlandish, it is a charge that many people are unlucky enough to face every year. It is usually only levied against a public official, specifically when they allegedly breach the trust of the people or abuse their position of power. This means that a public official has taken some sort of action within their position that is for their own personal interest, rather than the duties they serve.
It is important to note that a “public official” is any officer, employee, or agent of the United States. This means that even the secretary for the Parks and Recreation office could be charged with public corruption if they abused their power in some way. “Corruption” can also only occur if the public official intentionally acted with an unlawful purpose, such as by:
Receiving a Bribe as a Public Official: In order for the passing of money to be considered a bribe, the person giving the money must be gaining something of value through the transaction that is related to the public official’s duties. For example, if a police officer took a bribe from a criminal to look the other way during a crime, then they would be guilty of bribery and public corruption. However, if a friend of theirs gave them a small loan, that wouldn’t be considered a bribe if it was unrelated to their duties.
Requesting Illegal Gratuity as a Public Official: This crime is very similar to bribery, but the public official is the one initiating the transaction. In this case, the public official demands money or some other object of monetary value, in order to perform, or not perform, an official act. If we continue the above example, then the police officer would have to demand money from the criminal in order to look the other way, rather than being offered the money.
Theft of Government Money or Property: If a public officer steals or embezzles money or property worth more than $1,000 from their office for their own personal use or gain, then they would be considered guilty of theft from the government. The public official does not need to be aware that the money or property belongs to the government so long as they knew it did not belong to them.
Conspiracy: If a public official agrees to engage in criminal activity with one or more people, none of whom have to be public officials themselves, then that public official will have entered into a conspiracy. In order for the public official to be guilty, they must be aware of the goal of the conspiracy but does not need to know all of the details.
If you are charged with public corruption, the penalties you face will rely on what subcategory you are charged with. The four crimes listed above all have their own unique penalties associated with them. However, they all include long prison sentences and large fines. Whatever charge you end up facing, the chances are that a conviction will include serious punishments.
Receiving a Bribe as a Public Official:
- Up to 15 years in prison
- A fine of up to three times the monetary value of the bribe
Requesting Illegal Gratuity as a Public Official:
- Up to 2 years in prison
- Large criminal fines
Theft of Government Money or Property:
- Up to 10 years in prison
- Fines, including the repayment of the stolen property
- Up to 5 years in prison
- Heavy criminal fines
The penalties for a charge of conspiracy may be altered depending on what the underlying criminal act was, as it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. A felony will likely result in harsher penalties than a misdemeanor. There may also be accompanying charges that have their own associated penalties that could lengthen your prison sentence as well as make your fines even higher.
Finding the right defense for your case will require a thorough investigation into the facts around your arrest and the alleged crimes. A skilled attorney will be able to pinpoint where the prosecution’s argument is the weakest and show the jury how their case simply doesn’t hold water. At Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, some of the key defenses we use in public corruption cases include:
- The situation was a misunderstanding, and you were not engaging in any initially unlawful act
- The police officers who arrested you were practicing entrapment
- You were not in your right state of mind, potentially due to intoxication
- You were mistaken in the other party’s intentions
Finding the perfect defense is no easy task, especially if you are working with a public defender. Public defenders rarely have enough time to truly review their clients’ cases. That is why you need a Los Angeles white collar crime defense attorney by your side, walking you through the process and finding you the best defense to go up against the prosecution.
With decades of experience as criminal defense attorneys, we at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP are among the most dedicated in our field. We believe that everyone deserves a fair trial, and that includes a strong defense. If you have been arrested for public corruption, call our firm at (213) 688-0460. We can offer some of the best legal help in Los Angeles.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.