Bribery – or giving another person money or gifts to influence them to do what you want – is considered illegal in the state of California. The court system uses many different charges to prosecute bribery, including:
- California Penal Code Section 67 & 68: Bribery Of Or By An Executive Officer Or Public Employee.
- California Penal Code Section 85 & 86: Bribery Of Or By Legislators.
- California Penal Code Section 92 & 93: Bribery Of Judges And Jurors.
- California Penal Code Section 137 & 138: Bribery of or by Witnesses.
- California Penal Code Section 337b: Bribing Player/Participant to Throw a Sporting Event.
- California Penal Code Section 337c: Accepting Bribe to Throw a Sporting Event.
- California Penal Code Section 641.3: Commercial Bribery.
This article deals specifically with PC 641.3. You can find out how commercial bribery charges are applied in the court system, go over the penalties for a PC 641.3 conviction, and focus on legal defenses with the Simmrin Law Group.
Defining Commercial Bribery in California
Commercial bribery charges are only used in the business world. According to PC 641.3, commercial bribery occurs if:
- An employee, agent, partner, trustee, director, or officer
- Solicits, takes, or agrees to take valuables or money
- From someone other than their employer without their employer’s consent or knowledge
- With the promise that they will use their position to benefit the other person
In addition, the individual who offered valuables or money to an employee, agent, partner, trustee, director, or officer could face commercial bribery charges in California.
You should be aware that commercial bribery is only covered by PC 641.3 charges if the offered bribe had a value of at least $250.
Focusing on Commercial Bribery Examples
You can learn more about commercial bribery by considering these examples:
Man A works for a wholesale food company. He wants to secure a contract with a restaurant chain, even though he knows his products are subpar. He sends gifts to the individual in charge of ordering food for the restaurant and eventually secures the contract, ultimately hurting the restaurant chain. He could be charged with commercial bribery.
Man B works for a financial company. One of his friends offers him a kickback if he encourages clients to buy stock in a certain company that both of them know is not doing well. Man B agrees. Both his company and his clients suffer. He could face commercial bribery charges for accepting the bribe.
Going Over the Penalties for Commercial Bribery
Commercial bribery can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony in the court system in California. You can learn more about the differences between these charges right here:
Misdemeanor Commercial Bribery
Individuals can be charged with misdemeanor commercial bribery if they offer or accept a bribe worth between $250 and $1,000. A conviction for misdemeanor commercial bribery can lead to up to one year of jail time.
Felony Commercial Bribery
California uses felony commercial bribery charges to prosecute individuals who accept or offer bribes of more than $1,000. Felony commercial bribery convictions can result in a jail sentence of up to three years.
Focusing on Defenses for Commercial Bribery Charges
Commercial bribery accusations in California do not automatically have to lead to a conviction. You could get help building a defense to PC 641.3 accusations by contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer right now. Your lawyer can go over your options. Based on your legal situation, a lawyer could work to show that:
You Did Not Accept a Gift with Corrupt Intent
You should only be charged under PC 641.3 for offering or accepting a bribe with criminal intent. If you accepted a gift in innocence, without intending to change your behavior in any way as a result of the gift, you could be able to avoid charges for commercial bribery.
You Offered a Gift Without Intending to Defraud Anyone
Likewise, you should not be prosecuted for commercial bribery if you offered a store employee a gift with innocent intentions. If you were not trying to defraud a business owner – or anyone else – then PC 641.3 charges should not apply to you.
Handle Commercial Bribery Charges with a Legal Professional
Getting help right away can increase your chances of beating California Penal Code Section 641.3: Commercial Bribery charges. Find out more about how you can build a defense now by contacting the Simmrin Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles. We can offer you a FREE initial case evaluation.
Call us at 310-896-2723 or fill out our online contact form to get information about your legal options.