To the untrained eye, Bribery, pursuant to New York Penal Law Sections 200.00, 200.03 and 200.4 and Rewarding Official Misconduct, pursuant to New York Penal Law Sections 220.20 and 220.22 (all Article 200 crimes), involve very similar elements. In fact, those individuals who are not NY criminal defense attorneys or lawyers may not fully grasp the distinction between these offenses. That being said, William Donnino stated it best when he wrote:
“[B]ribery…[is] concerned with what a public servant ‘will’ do. The crime of [R]ewarding…[O]fficial [M]isconduct [is] directed at rewards to public servants for having previously violated their duty as a public servant.”
In other words, and in general terms, Bribery occurs when a payment (for example) is made to another person to alter that person’s behavior while Rewarding Official Misconduct would occur where the payment is made after such person’s behavior or action has already taken place.
Now, to the New York Penal Law:
New York Penal Law 200.20 Rewarding Official Misconduct in the Second Degree
A person is guilty of Rewarding Official Misconduct in the Second Degree when he knowingly confers, or offers or agrees to confer, any benefit upon a public servant for having violated his duty as a public servant.
Rewarding Official Misconduct in the Second Degree is a class E felony punishable by up to 4 years in state prison. New York Penal Law 200.22 Rewarding Official Misconduct in the First Degree
A person is guilty of Rewarding Official Misconduct in the First Degree when he knowingly confers, or offers or agrees to confer, any benefit upon a public servant for having violated his duty as a public servant in the investigation, arrest, detention, prosecution, or incarceration of any person for the commission or alleged commission of a class A felony defined in article two hundred twenty of the penal law or the attempt to commit any such class A felony.
Rewarding Official Misconduct in the First Degree is a class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison.
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