Bribery of or by Nevada state executive, administrative, or public officers is a category C felony carrying one to five years in prison and up to $10,000.
However, prosecutors may be willing to reduce or dismiss the case if we can show you had no intent to trade money for influence.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss:
- 1. What is officer bribery in Nevada?
- 2. Can I fight the charges?
- 3. What is the criminal sentence?
- 4. Is my criminal record sealable?
For a list of current officers in Nevada, go to the Nevada Directory of State and Local Government.
1. What is officer bribery in Nevada?
1.1. Bribery of an executive or administrative officer
NRS 197.010 prohibits you from bribing an executive or administrative officer of Nevada with the intent to influence the officer’s:
- opinions, or
- other proceedings they have control over.1
Example: Jack is the executive officer of NPERS, which manages Nevada’s state employee pension system. One day after work, a state employee Alex offers to pay Jack $5,000 to go into Alex’s account and increase his pension amount.
Here, Alex violated NRS 197.010 by trying to bribe an executive officer. Alex can be convicted whether or not Jack accepts the bribe or makes the change to Alex’s pension.
1.2. Bribery of other public officers
NRS 197.020 makes it a crime to bribe any Nevada state employee (“public officer”) in order to sway their
- votes, or
- other proceedings they have control over.2
Example: Ned works at the Nevada State Bar. One evening, Sam offers Ned $5,000 to give him the upcoming Bar Exam questions in advance.
Here, Sam committed public officer bribery by offering a State Bar employee money in exchange for a favor. Even if Ned refuses to comply, Sam could be convicted for making the offer.
1.3. Asking or receiving bribe by executive or administrative officer
NRS 197.030 forbids executive or administrative officers in Nevada from either:
- accepting a bribe; or
- asking to receive a bribe
in exchange for taking a specific action in their official capacity.3
Example: Jan is an executive officer of the Nevada State Contractors Board. She knows that Helen is facing suspension of her contractor’s license.
Jan calls Helen and says she would be willing to accept $5,000 in exchange for saving Helen’s license. Even if Helen refuses, Jan could be convicted of asking for a bribe.
1.4. Asking or receiving bribe by public officer or employee
NRS 197.040 criminalizes public employees asking for – or receiving – a bribe in exchange for taking – or not taking – a particular action.4
Example: Lennie works for the Nevada System of Higher Education. He knows his best friend’s son is applying to UNLV for a full-ride scholarship.
Lennie ensures his friend that he will get his son the scholarship if his friend pays him $5,000. Here, Lennie can be convicted of bribery whether or not the friend agrees to pay him.
See our related article on false statement by a public officer (NRS 197.130).
2. Can I fight the charges?
We have found from our experience representing clients facing bribery charges that “lack of intent” is the most powerful defense. Even if money changed hands, no crime occurred as long as you did not intend for the money to buy an official action or influence.
Example: Jeremy works for the Nevada Division of Parole and Probation. He is holding a fundraiser for his daughter’s volleyball team.
At the fundraiser, Jeremy’s neighbor Paul hands Jeremy $500 cash. Jeremy knows Paul’s son is up for parole soon and believes the donation is to buy his influence on the Parole Board.
However, there is insufficient evidence to prove Paul had any criminal intent. Even if Jeremy takes the money and releases Paul’s son because of it, Paul still should not face bribery charges because there is no evidence of his intent to bribe.
Another potential defense to bribery charges is that the law enforcement officers investigating the case carried out an illegal search.
In these cases, we would ask the judge to suppress all the evidence the police unlawfully uncovered. Then hopefully the D.A. will be left with too little evidence to keep prosecuting.
3. What is the criminal sentence?
Bribery of or by an executive, administrative, or public officer is a category C felony in Nevada. Penalties include:
- 1 – 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- up to $10,000 in fines.5
4. Is my criminal record sealable?
Yes. Category C convictions can be sealed five years after the case closes. And there is no wait to seal your record if the criminal charge gets dismissed.6
Learn more about sealing Nevada criminal records.
Arrested? Contact our Las Vegas, NV criminal law firm for legal advice. Our defense lawyers appear in state law and federal law courts in Clark County and throughout the state of Nevada.
We defend against all types of crimes and misdemeanors, including DUI, identity theft, solicitation, extortion, domestic violence and other violent crimes.
In California? Learn about Penal Code 67 & 68 PC.
- Nevada Revised Statute 197.010. Bribery of executive or administrative officer. A person who gives, offers or promises, directly or indirectly, any compensation, gratuity or reward to any executive or administrative officer of the State, with the intent to influence the officer with respect to any act, decision, vote, opinion or other proceeding, as such officer, is guilty of a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.
See also United States v. Gordon, (9th Cir., Nev. 1981) 641 F.2d 1281.
- NRS 197.020. Bribery of other public officers. A person who gives, offers or promises, directly or indirectly, any compensation, gratuity or reward to a person executing any of the functions of a public officer other than as specified in NRS 197.010, 199.010 and 218A.960, with the intent to influence the person with respect to any act, decision, vote or other proceeding in the exercise of his or her powers or functions, is guilty of a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.
See also NRS 193.019. “Officer” and “Public Officer” defined.
See also Lewis v. State, (1984) 100 Nev. 456, 686 P.2d 219.
- NRS 197.030. Asking or receiving bribe by executive or administrative officer. An executive or administrative officer or person elected or appointed to an executive or administrative office who asks or receives, directly or indirectly, any compensation, gratuity or reward, or any promise thereof, upon an agreement or understanding that his or her vote, opinion or action upon any matter then pending, or which may by law be brought before him or her in an official capacity, will be influenced thereby, is guilty of a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130
- NRS 197.040. Asking or receiving bribe by public officer or employee. A person who executes any of the functions of a public office not specified in NRS 197.030, 199.020 or 218A.965, and a person employed by or acting for the State or for any public officer in the business of the State, who asks or receives, directly or indirectly, any compensation, gratuity or reward, or any promise thereof, upon an agreement or understanding that his or her vote, opinion, judgment, action, decision or other official proceeding will be influenced thereby, or that he or she will do or omit any act or proceeding or in any way neglect or violate any official duty, is guilty of a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.
- See notes 1 – 4.
- NRS 179.245. NRS 179.255.