How, you might wonder, could a polite little offer of consideration hurt? The answer is plenty, when the intent is to convince an officer making a vehicle stop to forgo a DWI charge. Don't add a daunting bribery charge to a manageable DWI violation. Don't make things go from winnable to potentially worse.
This December 2020 media account of an Alamo resident's alleged actions supplies our instructional example. According to the report, a McAllen police officer wrote in his probable-cause affidavit that he stopped the Alamo resident's vehicle along McAllen's Houston Avenue and confronted him outside the vehicle after the vehicle sped through two red lights. The report alleges the officer smelled alcohol on the vehicle operator whose slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and admission of a little drinking led the officer to an open alcohol container in the vehicle.
What happened next, though, turned a common DWI charge into something much worse. The media account alleges that on the way to the station for booking on the DWI charge, the operator offered the arresting officer a $1,000 bribe to let him go, after bragging that he earned far more than that amount every week transporting narcotics for a Reynosa cartel.
Texas Penal Code 36.02 defines bribery to include an intentional offer to confer on a public servant “any benefit” in return for an “exercise of official discretion.” The operator's alleged offer of $1,000 would obviously qualify, but so would offers of goods, favors, or services.
Officers can misconstrue innocent words and actions as bribery, when the bribery defendant had no such intention. Defending bribery charges often involves establishing reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to influence the official's discretion. Officers can also mistake what they hear, observe, or recall. And in the worst case, an officer claiming attempted bribery may be making up the allegation. A skilled criminal defense attorney's aggressive cross-examination addresses those bribery defenses.
In Texas, though, bribery is still a serious charge. Texas Penal Code 36.02(e) makes bribery a second-degree felony. And Texas Penal Code 12.33 makes a second-degree felony punishable by a minimum of two years and a maximum of twenty years in prison, plus up to a $10,000 fine. All the more reason to retain nationally recognized DWI specialist Doug Murphy so that the risk of a bribery charge does not spoil a manageable or winnable DWI defense.
A Good Lawyer Is Far Better than Bribery
If officers suspect or accuse you of bribery in the course of a DWI arrest, then retain the legal counsel that you will need to discourage or beat a bribery charge. Whether you face a DWI charge with or without a bribery or other related charge, get the help of 2021 Houston DWI Lawyer of the Year Doug Murphy. As a Board Certified DWI specialist and one of only two Texas lawyers holding both DWI Board Certification and Criminal Law Certification, Doug can help you deal responsibly with DWI and related charges.
Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm online or at (713) 229-8333 to discuss your case now. Trust Texas DWI attorney Doug Murphy with your defense rather than taking serious matters into your own untrained hands.