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Public Corruption: Unlawful Compensation

Florida law provides for special crimes and special penalties for public servants who commit crimes under the color of their office.

One of these crimes is accepting unlawful compensation.

Florida law states that It is unlawful for any person corruptly to give, offer, or promise to any public servant, or, if a public servant, corruptly to request, solicit, accept, or agree to accept, any pecuniary or other benefit not authorized by law, for the past, present, or future performance, nonperformance, or violation of any act or omission which the person believes to have been, or the public servant represents as having been, either within the official discretion of the public servant, in violation of a public duty, or in performance of a public duty.

In other words, it is illegal to offer compensation to a public servant for their official duties, and if a public servant, it is illegal to accept. This statute essentially deals with bribery.

Offering or accepting unlawful compensation is a second-degree felony.

Most public servants are hard-working and honest. However, prosecutions of public servants make headlines, and sometimes, elected State Attorneys like to make names for themselves by going after them even when no crime has been committed.

Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorneyserving Miami-Dade and Broward.