Bribery charges are treated very seriously in California. Penalties for a conviction can be quite harsh, especially if the bribery involved a government official or a legal proceeding. If you face a bribery charge, it is crucial to hire an experienced bribery lawyer to help you avoid a conviction or, at least, minimize the sentence.
The Simmrin Law Group has plenty of experience fighting bribery charges in California. Our Downey bribery lawyers will use every tool at their disposal to defend you against these accusations. Find out more about how we can help through a free case evaluation. Give us a call or fill out our online contact form to get started.
Defining Bribery in California
Bribery is the act of offering or giving money or gifts to get something in return from the recipient. Not all acts of bribery are illegal under California law. For instance, social bribery, like offering to let a friend borrow your car if they pick you up from the airport, is not a criminal act.
However, any bribery that influences government officials or legal outcomes is a very serious crime. In the business world, the legal definition of bribery is a little less cut and dry. Some acts like offering an employee of a rival company a bribe to give you access to proprietary information are clearly illegal.
Meanwhile, offering gifts to a client you want to sign may be legal in some cases but illegal in others. Taking a client who is a sole entity out to dinner to get their business is unlikely to cause any trouble. However, giving money directly to an employee of a company to persuade them to hire your firm over another could land you in hot water.
You can face charges for bribery, both for offering a bribe and for accepting a bribe.
For a free legal consultation with a bribery lawyer serving Downey, call (310) 896-2723
California Bribery Laws
California has several laws on the books related to different types of bribery. These laws include:
- 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
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Penalties for a Bribery Conviction
The penalties for a bribery conviction vary depending on the specific offense and how it is prosecuted.
Commercial Bribery Penalties
Commercial bribery is considered a “wobbler” offense. That means that it can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Generally, if the bribe was less than $1,000 or a gift valued at under that amount, then the charge will be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. If the value is over $1,000, then the crime is treated as a felony.
A misdemeanor conviction for commercial bribery can result in up to a year in jail, while a felony charge can land you a prison term of up to three years.
Other Bribery Penalties
A conviction for bribing a politician, government employee, or anyone involved in a legal proceeding is treated more harshly than political bribery. These forms of bribery are always treated as felonies and can be punished by up to four years in prison.
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Defenses Against Bribery Charges
There are many potential defenses to use against bribery charges in California. Your Downey bribery attorney will review and investigate the details of your case and then begin building a defense that is appropriate to your situation. Some of the arguments most commonly used in bribery cases include:
- No intent to bribe
- False accusations
- Police entrapment
No Intent to Bribe
When giving a gift without the intent to bribe, or accepting a gift from another party without the intent to provide a service in return or understanding that there is an implication that you will do so, you are not engaging in bribery. If you can show that there was no intent to bribe behind a gift, you should be able to avoid a conviction.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to be falsely accused of bribery. Sometimes false accusations are made with malicious intent, and other times they are purely a misunderstanding. If you can show that you were falsely accused of bribery, you should be able to beat this charge.
If you committed an act of bribery or accepted a bribe after being coaxed into doing so by a law enforcement officer, you may be able to argue that you would not have committed the crime otherwise. It is illegal for law enforcement to lure you into committing a crime.
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Hire a Downey Bribery Attorney Today
When you face a bribery charge, it is critical that you hire legal representation as soon as possible. The earlier our bribery attorneys in Downey can get to work building your case, the better positioned you will be for a favorable outcome.
Contact the Simmrin Law Group today to get started with a free case evaluation. A member of our team will review the details of your bribery case, answer all your questions, and offer you advice on how best to proceed.
Call or text (310) 896-2723 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form