Bribery is an act of offering something of value to influence the actions of others. However, there are many different types of bribery in California law depending on who is accepting the offer.

If you are charged with bribery, you need an aggressive defense attorney who will stand by your side. Folsom bribery attorney Chris Walsh is a former prosecutor who now fights for those who have been accused. Call Walsh Law today at 916-237-8270 or use our confidential contact form to reach out to our attorneys.

What Is Bribery in California?

Bribery in California is defined throughout multiple statutes depending on who is involved, including California Penal Code Sections 67, 68, 85, 86, 92, 93, 137, 138, 165, and 641.3. It involves offering, giving, or taking something of value to unlawfully influence a person in any public or official capacity. Additionally, this action must have corrupt intent.

The California Penal Code categorizes bribery according to who is involved, including:

  • Penal Code Sections 67 PC and 68 PC: These statutes involve bribery by or of an executive officer, which is a government official, including a law enforcement officer or district attorney.
  • Penal Code Sections 85 PC and 86 PC: These statutes involve bribery by or of a legislator, including state legislators, members of city and county legislative bodies, and members of school district legislative bodies.
  • Penal Code Sections 92 PC and 93 PC: These statutes cover bribery by or of a judicial officer, including judges and jurors.
  • Penal Code Sections 137 PC and 138 PC: These codes make bribing a witness to a crime illegal.
  • Penal Code Section 165 PC: This statute makes bribery illegal by or of members of county boards of supervisors of crime, including city boards of trustees, public corporation’s boards of trustees, and common councils.
  • Penal Code Section 641.3 PC: This code makes “commercial bribery” illegal. This is when an employee takes a bribe from a person in exchange for using their employment position to benefit the other person.

Elements of Bribery

Folsom prosecutors must prove certain essential elements to convict you of bribery in California:

1. Something of Value

A bribe must involve an item of value or something that has present or future value. This includes promises to give kickbacks or gratuity.

2. Corrupt Intent

The item must be given, offered, or taken with corrupt intent. A person acts with corrupt intent when they wrongfully gain financial or other advantage for themselves or someone else.

3. Unlawful Influence

The item must be given, offered, or taken to unlawfully influence the other person who has a public or official capacity. Thus, if the influence has a lawful purpose, then that action is not illegal bribery. For example, paying an elected public servant $5,000 to vote “yes” on official duty matters is unlawfully influencing them through bribery.

Bribery Applies to Both Sides of the Transaction

It is important to note that bribery charges may be brought against people on both sides of the illegal transaction. That is, the person who offers a bribe may be charged as well as the person who takes the bribe.

There are certain charges commonly associated with bribery and people often get charged with at the same time, including:

  • Extortion (California Penal Code Section 518 PC): Also called “blackmail,” this involves using force or threats to compel another person to give you money or property or a public official to perform an official act.
  • Embezzlement (California Penal Code Section 503 PC): This white-collar crime involves unlawfully taking property that has been entrusted to you with the intent of depriving the rightful owner of the use of that property.

A Folsom bribery attorney can help you understand all the charges you are facing and develop a strong defense to get the best outcome possible.

Bribery Penalties in California

Most bribery offenses (except for commercial bribery) are felonies. They are punishable by up to four years in state prison and felony (formal) probation.

Commercial bribery may be charged as a misdemeanor if the amount in question is $1,000 or less. Then, it is punishable by one year in county jail. If the amount in question exceeds $1,000, then commercial bribery is a felony offense, punishable by up to three years in prison.

Other Potential Consequences of a Bribery Conviction

Aside from incarceration and fines, a bribery conviction can result in the following:

  • Community service and probation requirements
  • Job loss and difficulty finding housing
  • Suspension or loss of professional licenses
  • Citizenship or immigration issues
  • Loss of firearm rights
  • Financial restitution to victims

Defenses for Bribery in Folsom

Bribery charges can be serious. They can ruin your reputation and land you in prison. However, you do have options to defend yourself. Folsom bribery attorney Chris Walsh knows how to fight these cases because he used to be a prosecutor. He knows a good defense could successfully get your charges reduced or dropped entirely. Some common bribery defenses we use include:

You Did Not Have Corrupt Intent

The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you acted with corrupt intent. If you can prove that you did not intend to benefit from the action and did not act maliciously, then you should not be convicted.

There Was Entrapment

Entrapment occurs when you commit a crime because law enforcement lured or coaxed you into doing so. This defense is available if you can show the only committed bribery because of the entrapment.

There Is a False Accusation

False accusations may be made due to revenge, jealousy, or mistake. This defense is available if you were unjustly blamed for bribery.

Bribery Charge FAQs

Can I get a bribery conviction expunged?

You may expunge a conviction for bribery if you received misdemeanor charges and served jail time or probation. You may also expunge a felony offense if you were only given felony probation. However, you cannot expunge a conviction in California if it led to prison time.

Is bribery a state or federal offense?

Bribery may be an offense under California state or federal laws. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), also known as the “Bribery Act,” makes it illegal to bribe officials like California does. If you bribe a federal official, then you may face federal charges, which can result in even more serious penalties.

What types of things can be exchanged in bribery?

Bribery involves a transaction of something of value. That may include money, gifts, employment, favors, votes, and anything else that would illegally benefit a person.

Get Help from a Folsom Bribery Attorney

The consequences of bribery charges go beyond incarceration. They can ruin every part of your life. At Walsh Law, our Folsom bribery lawyers know what you’re facing, and we are ready to help. We know you want to clear your name and keep a clean record. The sooner you contact our legal team, the sooner we can get started on your case.

Call 916-237-8270 today or complete our secure contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.

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