Nevada "Bribery" Laws

1. How does Nevada law define bribery?

A bribe is offering or asking another person for money (or something of value). And in exchange, that person would take - or not take - a certain action.

Merely offering or soliciting a bribe can be a felony in Nevada. It does not matter if the bribe is ultimately rejected. And if a person accepts a bribe, he/she faces bribery charges as well.

2. What forms of bribery does Nevada punish?

Nevada subdivides bribery into five specific offenses. Which statute applies depends on whether the parties are public officials or judicial officers. Or whether the bribe concerns a business or sporting event:

2.1. Commercial and business

Commercial bribery (NRS 207.295) is when an employee or third party offers the other a favor. And the condition is to negatively influence the business.

Example: Jack works at a car wash. The owner of a rival car wash offers Jack $500 to advise customers to go to the rival instead. Even if Jack does not accept, the owner can be convicted of commercial bribery. He offered an employee a favor in exchange for hurting the company.

2.2. Witnesses

Witness bribery (NRS 199.240 - .250) is when someone offers a favor to a witness in a judicial proceeding. Or vice versa. And the condition is to influence the testimony.

Example: Becky is a witness in a car crash trial. Becky contacts the defendant. She offers to testify that the plaintiff was at fault. And in exchange, she wants $10,000. Even if the defendant does not accept, Becky can be convicted of witness bribery.

2.3. Judges and jurors

Judicial bribery (NRS 199.010 - .030) is when someone offers a favor to a judge or juror. Or vice versa. And the condition is to influence the court proceeding.

Example: A juror in a murder trial receives a letter from the defendant's brother. It is an offer of $10,000 in exchange for voting not guilty. The brother committed judicial bribery by making the offer. And if the juror accepts, the juror could be convicted also.

2.4. Executive, administrative, and public officials

Public official bribery (NRS 197.010 - .040) is when someone offers a favor to a public official. Or vice versa. And the condition is to influence official business.

Example: A county commissioner is the deciding vote on a major initiative. She receives an anonymous offer of $10,000 in exchange for voting against the plan. If she accepts, the commissioner could face bribery charges. The anonymous party also faces bribery charges whether or not the commissioner accepts.

2.5. Sports

Sports bribery (NRS 207.290) is accepting or soliciting a favor in exchange for influencing a sporting event.

Example: Jack wants his son's basketball team to win. Jack offers the rival team's coach $10,000 to bench the best players. Jack is committing sports bribery by making the offer. And if the coach accepts, he too faces bribery charges. It does not matter if the rival team happens to win anyway.

3. How does bribery differ from extortion?

Bribery is offering to help someone in exchange for a favor. Extortion (NRS 205.320) is more sinister. It is threatening to harm someone unless they do something. Extortion is also called blackmail:

Example: Henry is getting ready for his child custody trial, where his child's babysitter Sheila is a witness. Henry offers Sheila $1,000 to testify that his estranged wife is an abusive mother. When Sheila refuses, Henry threatens to burn down her house unless she testifies that his estranged wife is an abusive mother.

Here, Henry committed witness bribery by offering Sheila money to influence her testimony. And then Henry committed extortion when he threatened to harm her unless she gave certain testimony.

Extortion is punished more harshly than bribery. As discussed below, bribery is usually a category C felony. But extortion is always a category B felony.

4. What are the consequences of a bribery conviction in Nevada?

The punishment for bribery depends on the specific conviction:

 Nevada bribery offense

 Penalties

Commercial (NRS 207.295)

Misdemeanor:

  • Up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • Up to $1,000 in fines

Witnesses (NRS 199.240; NRS 199.250)

Bribery of a witness:

Category C felony:

  • 1 – 5 years in Nevada State Prison,
  • $10,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion), and
  • An additional $50,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)

Bribery by a witness:

Category C felony

  • 1 – 5 years in prison, and
  • $10,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)

Judges and jurors (NRS 199.010; NRS 199.020; NRS 199.030)

Category C felony:

  • 1 – 5 years in prison, and
  • $10,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)

Executive, administrative, or public officers (NRS 197.010; NRS 197.020; NRS 197.030; NRS 197.040)

Category C felony:

  • 1 – 5 years in prison, and
  • $10,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)

Sports (NRS 207.290)

Category C felony

  • 1 – 5 years in prison, and
  • $10,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)

Bribery charges may be difficult for prosecutors to prove. This is especially true if there are no recordings of or eyewitnesses to the bribe.

Bribery may or may not be deportable. It depends on the offense. So non-citizens charged with bribery should hire an attorney immediately. It may be possible to get the charge plea-bargained to a non-deportable charge.

Bribery cases show up on background checks. But they are sealable:

Dismissed cases can be sealed immediately. For misdemeanor convictions, there is a waiting period of one year after the case ends. For category C felony convictions, it is five years after the case ends. Learn how to seal Nevada criminal records.

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Call us for help . . . .

Arrested for bribery in Nevada? Contact our Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyers. Call 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). Or fill out the form on this page. We give free consultations.

We negotiate with prosecutors for the best result possible. Perhaps we can get the charges reduced. Or even dismissed. And we are always ready to go to trial to pursue an acquittal.

In California? See our article on California bribery laws.

In Colorado? See our article on Colorado bribery laws (CRS 18-8-302).

For federal law, see our articles on sports bribery (18 U.S.C. 224) and bribery of or by witnesses (18 U.S.C. 201).

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