All forms of bribery are against the law in the state of California. Individuals in the government are not exempted from this ruling. Some public workers who engage in bribery can be prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 67 & 68: Bribery Of Or By An Executive Officer Or Public Employee.
These legal codes can be complicated to understand without a legal background. Get help learning more about the laws surrounding bribery in California with the Simmrin Law Group.
Bribery of or by an Executive Officer or Public Employee: Definition
The laws surrounding bribery are actually broken down into many specific charges, including:
- California Penal Code Section 67: Bribery of an Executive Officer
- California Penal Code Section 67.5: Bribery of Ministerial Officers or Public Employees
- California Penal Code Section 68: Bribery by Officers and Public Employees
This means it against the law for someone to attempt to bribe an execute officer or public employee. In order to bribe someone, you must offer to give them something that has value. Money is frequently used in bribes, though other individuals can be bribed with many other objects.
Violating PC 67 or PC 67.5 requires someone to act with corrupt intent, while planning to impact the official decisions of executive officers or public employees. Offers of bribery can be prosecuted even if the executive officer or public employee refuses the bribe.
It is also against the law for a public employee or an executive officer to accept or solicit any type of bribe. Therefore, public employees and executive officers are forbidden from:
- Asking for, Agreeing to Receive, or Actually Receiving
- Items of Value or Money
- In Exchange for Changes in Their Official Decisions
Note that California uses the term executive officer to designate officials who perform their duties at their own discretion. Examples of governmental executive officers can include:
- Local Coroners
- District Attorneys
- The Chief of Police
- Police Officers
PC 67 and 68 only cover bribes offered or solicited by executive officers and public employees. Individuals may face different charges if they attempt to bribe other individuals, including:
- California Penal Code Section 85 & 86: Bribery Of Or By Legislators
- California Penal Code Section 92 & 93: Bribery Of Judges And Jurors
Solicitations of bribery are handled very harshly in the court system in California.
Bribery of or by an Executive Officer or Public Employee: An Example
A police officer pulls over a man who is driving erratically. He spots an open bottle of alcohol on the front passenger seat and prepares to arrest the driver for driving under the influence (DUI). The driver attempts to pay the police officer off with the money in his wallet.
After a moment of consideration, the police officer agrees accept the money and sends the driver on his way. Both the driver and the police officer could be prosecuted for offering and accepting a bribe.
Bribery of or by an Executive Officer or Public Employee: Penalties
There are a number of severe penalties for a PC 67 or PC 68 conviction in California. Bribery of or by an executive officer or public employee is typically considered to be a felony offense that can lead to:
- Jail Time: Up to 4 Years
- Fines: Up to $10,000
If an individual received a very large bribe, they may be forced to repay the amount of the bribe as restitution, even if it exceeds $10,000.
Public officials will generally be forced to resign from their office with no opportunities to get it back if they are convicted of accepting or offering a bribe.
Bribery of or by an Executive Officer or Public Employee: Defenses
Individuals accused of violating PC 67 or 68 may be able to legally defend themselves in court. They will be more likely to succeed if they work with a professional criminal defense lawyer. A lawyer can investigate any bribery accusations and may be able to argue:
You Did Not Intend to Offer a Bribe
Sometimes, people wrongly assume someone is offering them a bribe. You should not be convicted if your statements were misinterpreted. Bribery charges should only apply if you were acting with criminal intent.
You Did Not Realize Who You Were Talking To
Sometimes, people mistaking make statements that could be seen as bribery. If you did not realize you were speaking with an executive officer or a public employee, you could avoid a conviction under PC 67.
Get Help Handling Bribery of or by an Executive Officer or Public Employee Charges
It can be difficult to handle a California Penal Code Section 67 & 68: Bribery Of Or By An Executive Officer Or Public Employee charge on your own. Get help on your side by contacting the Simmrin Law Group for a FREE initial case evaluation.
You can reach us by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 997-4688.