Bribery is used very commonly in colloquial terms. Many may feel that they have an understanding of what it means, but the detailed definition under the law might differ from how you would imagine it to be viewed.
Depending on the severity of the circumstances, bribery can be seen by the courts as a very serious charge, and can happen in a wide variety of settings. It is not uncommon for bribery accusations to occur in the higher tiers of corporate organizations, for example.
What is bribery as defined by the law?
Bribery is an attempt of corruption, both in political or private fields. It is the act of a person trying to coerce another by offering an "if, then" scenario. For example, "if you do not transfer money to my bank account, then you will be hurt". This type of bribery can often happen verbally, so it can be quite difficult to prove in courts. However, there does not need to be hard proof such as a piece of writing or recording to prove the crime. There must only be some proof of the accused having the intention to corrupt a process.
Bribery and the federal government
Charges against federal employees for bribery have more specific criteria than those of the general public. The bribery claim must be pinned to an "official act": a specific reason for the bribery to take place. It must also be proven that there were connections by the to circumstances that arose suspicion of bribery.
Bribery can be a complex issue, especially in the context of high-level executives. It's important to research the area fully if you are being accused of bribery.
Source: Findlaw, "Bribery," accessed Oct. 09, 2017