Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 18.2. Crimes and Offenses Generally
Chapter 10. Crimes Against the Administration of Justice
9/26/2022

Article 3. Bribery of Public Servants and Party Officials.

§ 18.2-446. Definitions.

The following words and phrases when used in this article shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them in this section except where the context clearly requires a different meaning:

(1) "Benefits" means a gain or advantage, or anything regarded by the beneficiary as a gain or advantage, including a benefit to any other person or entity in whose welfare he is interested, but shall not mean an advantage promised generally to a group or class of voters as a consequence of public measures which a candidate engages to support or oppose;

(2) "Party official" means a person who holds an elective or appointive post in a political party in the United States by virtue of which he directs or conducts, or participates in directing or conducting party affairs at any level of responsibility;

(3) "Pecuniary benefit" means a benefit in the form of money, property, commercial interest or anything else the primary significance of which is economic gain;

(4) "Public servant" means any officer or employee of this Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof, including members of the General Assembly and judges, and any person participating as a juror, advisor, consultant or otherwise, in performing any governmental function; but the term does not include witnesses;

(5) "Administrative proceeding" means any proceeding other than a judicial proceeding, the outcome of which is required to be based on a record or documentation prescribed by law including specifically, but not limited to, proceedings before a planning commission and board of zoning appeals.

Code 1950, § 18.1-282.1; 1968, c. 552; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-447. When person guilty of bribery.

A person shall be guilty of bribery under the provisions of this article:

(1) If he offers, confers or agrees to confer upon another (a) any pecuniary benefit as consideration for or to obtain or influence the recipient's decision, opinion, recommendation, vote or other exercise of discretion as a public servant or party official, or (b) any benefit as consideration for or to obtain or influence either the recipient's decision, opinion, recommendation, vote or other exercise of official discretion in a judicial or administrative proceeding or the recipient's violation of a known legal duty as a public servant or party official; or

(2) If he accepts or agrees to accept from another (a) any pecuniary benefit offered, conferred or agreed to be conferred as consideration for or to obtain or influence the recipient's decision, opinion, recommendation, vote or other exercise of discretion as a public servant or party official, or (b) any benefit offered, conferred or agreed to be conferred as consideration for or to obtain or influence either the recipient's decision, opinion, recommendation, vote or other exercise of official discretion in a judicial or administrative proceeding or the recipient's violation of a known legal duty as a public servant or party official; or

(3) If he solicits from another (a) any pecuniary benefit or promise of pecuniary benefit as consideration for or in exchange for his decision, opinion, recommendation, vote or other exercise of discretion as a public servant or party official, or (b) any benefit or promise of benefit as consideration for or in exchange for his decision, opinion, recommendation, vote or other exercise of official discretion in a judicial or administrative proceeding or his violation of a known legal duty as a public servant or party official.

Code 1950, § 18.1-282.2; 1968, c. 552; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-448. Certain matters not to constitute defenses.

It shall be no defense to any prosecution under § 18.2-447 that a person whom the actor sought to influence was not qualified to act in the desired way, whether because he had not yet assumed office, or lacked jurisdiction, or for any other reason. Also it shall be no defense to a prosecution under § 18.2-447 that a resident of this Commonwealth charged with committing an act of bribery was temporarily absent from this Commonwealth at the time such act was committed.

Code 1950, § 18.1-282.3; 1968, c. 552; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-449. Punishment.

Any person found guilty of bribery under the provisions of this article shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony, and if such person be a public servant he shall in addition forfeit his public office and shall be forever incapable of holding any public office in this Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 18.1-282.4; 1968, c. 552; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

§ 18.2-450. Immunity of witnesses.

No witness called by the court or attorney for the Commonwealth and giving evidence for the prosecution, either before the grand jury or the court in any prosecution under this article shall ever be proceeded against for any offense of giving, or offering to give, or accepting a bribe committed by him at the time and place indicated in such prosecution; but such witness shall be compelled to testify, and for refusing to answer questions, may by the court, be punished for contempt.

Code 1950, § 18.1-282.3; 1968, c. 552; 1975, cc. 14, 15.