Over the past few years, public corruption and bribery cases have been on the headlines — the giving of money and favors in exchange for benefits from those hired to serve the public. Formally, these bribery charges have broadened to include anyone working in a public office, even as a volunteer.

While it is illegal for public officials to receive bribes, the laws often target the giver more than they do the receivers.

According to the Columbia Law School, Center Advancement for Public Integrity, commercial bribery is not a crime at the federal level, although individual states have laws against it. In such cases, the gift is intentionally for the person who owns the company or an employee. It is for getting a person to act a certain way in commercial transactions.

When you face bribery charges, you may want to show how the official coaxed it from you. It would be best if you showed that you did not have any other choice but to offer what they asked. It may also help your case if you have a witness who can testify in your favor.

If found guilty of bribing a public official, you will face felony charges. You may serve one year in the state prisons. Private bribes are misdemeanors, and they have less severe penalties. Those who receive bribes will most likely lose their jobs. Government employees will be ineligible to work for the government in any capacity.

Facing bribery charges is not as simple as most people assume. You, therefore, need to get more evidence to prove you are innocent.