Bribery is considered a serious crime in California, especially when an individual attempts to bribe an elected official. Individuals who offer or accept these bribes can be prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 85 & 86: Bribery Of Or By Legislators.
Strengthen your understanding of the legal codes surrounding PC 85 and 86 violations with the legal team at the Simmrin Law Group.
The Definition of PC 85 & 86: Bribery of or by Legislators
The exact definition of PC 85 and 86 can be easier to understand if all the terms used in this charge are explained. Under California’s legal code, bribery occurs if someone offers another person:
- An Amount of Cash
- Something Else of Value
Legislators are – for the purposes of PC 85 and 86 – individuals in charge of deciding the law and other elected officials who have the power to vote on different issues. This includes:
- State Senators
- State Representatives
- County Legislators
- School Board Officials
- City Council Members
Understanding these facts makes it easier to understand:
California Penal Code 85: Bribery of Legislative Officers
Individuals who offer any legislative officer a bribe can be charged under PC 85. In order to be convicted, an individual must have corrupt intent when offering the bribe. Individuals must also offer the bribe in order to impact the way the legislative officer will vote on an official matter.
California Penal Code 86: Bribery by Legislators
PC 86 makes it illegal for legislators to:
- Ask for, Agree to Take, or Receive a Bribe
- In Exchange for a Vote on Any Official Matter
The legislator must act with corrupt intent to be convicted under PC 86. Corrupt intent merely means that someone takes an action that will allow them to receive some kind of unlawful gain.
Examples of PC 85 & 86: Bribery of or by Legislators
The following examples show different aspects of PC 85 and 86 charges:
There is an important state vote coming up regarding new restrictions on businesses. A group of businessmen decide they would like it to go their way, and they come up with a plan to bribe a few state representatives. They make a few offers and are caught. They could be charged with bribery of legislators as well as conspiracy.
A city council member is approached by a man who offers her a thousand dollars to vote a specific way on an upcoming issue. She doesn’t care very much about the vote, and decides to take the bribe. Both the city council member and the man could be charged under PC 85 and 86.
Penalties for PC 85 & 86: Bribery of or by Legislators
Acts of bribery are generally harshly punished in California. This includes charges like:
- California Penal Code Section 67 & 68: Bribery Of Or By An Executive Officer Or Public Employee
- California Penal Code Section 92 & 93: Bribery Of Judges And Jurors
PC 85 and PC 86 are especially serious bribery charges and they are considered felonies in the state of California. Individuals convicted of either PC 85 or 86 may be sentenced to up to 4 years of time in prison.
Individuals convicted under PC 86 may also be forced to forfeit their current office. They will also be unable to run for office again in the future. Additionally, a PC 86 conviction can lead to fines of up to $10,000.
If a legislator accepted a bribe, he or she may be forced to repay up to double the amount of the bribe.
Defenses for PC 85 & 86: Bribery of or by Legislators
Building a defense to PC 85 or 86 charges can be incredibly difficult. Individuals will be able to increase their odds of beating these charges by contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer immediately after they are charged.
A professional criminal defense lawyer may be able to help in cases that involved undercover law enforcement officers. Law enforcement officers are allowed to offer legislators false bribes to see what they will do.
However, law enforcement officers are not supposed to try to force a legislator to accept a bribe they would normally turn down. If a legislator feels pressured by an undercover operative, they may be able to build a defense against a PC 85 or 86 charge.
Get Professional Help Handling PC 85 & 86 Charges
The Simmrin Law Group can provide you with the professional help you need if you are charged under California Penal Code Section 85 & 86: Bribery Of Or By Legislators. You can contact us as soon as you are charged to get help with a FREE consultation.
Take charge of your future by calling (310) 896-2723 or filling out our online contact form.