Bribery can be a serious charge to deal with in California. Being convicted could mean having a felony on your record, going to jail, and virtually ending your career. You could be charged just for having a professional relationship with someone who shows you favor in their official position.
If you’ve been accused, you need seasoned Costa Mesa bribery lawyers to represent you. A legal expert will be able to work with you and the prosecutor to negotiate a deal, or possibly even get your charges dropped altogether. Without the help of Simmrin Law Group, you could be in jail for years.
What Counts As Bribery in California?
While California is strict on bribery, its laws concerning bribes can be confusingly vague. In fact, to charge someone with bribery, a prosecutor doesn’t even need one specific example. Instead, simply a pattern of favors or general goodwill can mean a serious bribery charge.
There are several types of bribery charges in California, however. For example, if you attempt to bribe an employee or partner of a business or agency, that is commercial bribery under California Penal Code (PC) § 641.3. If you attempt to bribe a judge or juror, that is handled under PC § 92 and 93.
The list of people that you could be charged for bribing includes:
- Sports players
- Executive officers
- Public employees
- Private employees
Despite the fact that there is a range of different bribery charges, in general, they all have two elements in common:
An Offer of Value
To count as a bribe, there must be something of value offered to or accepted by the defendant. This doesn’t have to be money. It can be a piece of property, an action, or even a promise of future goodwill.
The bribee doesn’t even have to accept the offer. As long as there was something of value offered with the intent to sway someone or influence their decision, it could count as bribery.
A bribe is also defined by some corrupt or dishonest intent. If something is offered in exchange for goods or services and the intent is pure, it could be a legal transaction. A judge has to decide based on the evidence provided and the statement of witnesses that the defendant had wrongful intent.
These criteria may seem specific, but prosecutors can twist your words against you and cast something you did honestly in a bad light. That’s why many defendants hire criminal defense attorneys. An experienced lawyer can defend you in court and make sure the judge is making a totally informed decision.
For a free legal consultation with a bribery lawyer serving Costa Mesa, call (310) 896-2723
The Penalties for Bribery in California
In some instances, commercial bribery under $1,000 is charged as a misdemeanor in California, which is a more lenient type of criminal charge. In those cases, you could be facing up to a year in county jail. However, you could be facing much harsher penalties than that – most instances of bribery are charged as felonies.
If your bribery charge is a felony, you could receive a sentence of two to four years in state prison. In addition, there are financial penalties:
- If you offered a bribe but it wasn’t received, you could be required to pay a fine of up to $10,000
- If you received a bribe, you could have to pay back the full sum of your bribe or $2,000, whichever sum is greater
- If you are a public official who accepted a bribe, you could be required to step down from your position
Keep in mind that these are the maximum punishments you could receive. With the help of an experienced Costa Mesa bribery attorney, you could have your penalties reduced and avoid prison time. In some cases, you could even have your charges expunged or dismissed entirely.
Costa Mesa Bribery Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
Defenses Against Bribery Charges
To help you avoid the harsh penalties that come along with a bribery charge, your criminal defense attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor and the judge and show that you don’t deserve maximum punishment. Your lawyer may use some of the following defenses against your bribery charge:
- Entrapment: A government official, such as law enforcement, fraudulently enticed you into bribery
- No corrupt intent: You offered something of value to someone but had no illegal or dishonest intent
- Acting under duress: You were harassed, threatened, or coerced into committing bribery
- False accusation: Your gifts or services for someone else were falsely labeled as acts of bribery
- Intoxication: You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your offer, so you were too impaired to have corrupt intent
These defenses work best when backed up by solid evidence and negotiation. You can always try to defend yourself in court, but that often does not work. The best defense is hiring an experienced bribery lawyer to help you.
When you meet with one of our attorneys for your free initial consultation, they will assess your case and tell you what the best course of action would be, as well as how they can help you.
Talk to a Bribery Attorney in Costa Mesa Today
A bribery charge can be a major obstacle in your life. You could be forced to step down from your position and possibly divert your entire career–not to mention the potential fines and jail time. You should have a fighting chance against the accusations leveraged against you.
The Costa Mesa bribery attorneys at Simmrin Law Group can make sure your rights are represented in court. Your professional or political career shouldn’t end because of a mistake.
Call us or contact us online for your free consultation with one of our attorneys.