When you’re accused of bribery in California, it can be devastating to you and your career. Bribery is usually a felony, and having that charge on your record can change your life for the worse – not to mention the jail time and fines that you could face.
The Long Beach bribery lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group can help you avoid the harsh consequences of a bribery charge. You can learn more at a free consultation with someone from our firm, available 24/7.
What Counts As Bribery in California?
California law defines bribery as offering to exchange or actually exchanging money or valuables with the intent to influence someone else’s decision. In other words, paying or offering to pay someone to do something for you.
At that, you might wonder what the difference is between bribery and simply hiring someone or giving them a gift. That difference is corrupt intent – some kind of wrongful, deceitful, or fraudulent intent in your actions.
For example, when you give a friend a good-natured gift with no ulterior motive, there isn’t corrupt intent. However, if you give a police officer a gift hoping that they’ll not give you a ticket or arrest you, that is corrupt intent. And it’s a felony to bribe an executive officer or public employee.
The line can be blurry, but a skilled bribery lawyer in Long Beach will be able to get evidence that shows that your intentions were pure. In bribery cases, both the party that offered the bribe and the party that accepted the bribe can be charged.
In fact, there doesn’t even need to be one specific bribe. If there is a pattern of favors and kind gestures between two parties, that could be counted as bribery and charged as such.
For a free legal consultation with a bribery lawyer serving Long Beach, call (310) 928-9347
Bribery vs. Extortion
In California, when someone receives goods or services with corrupt intent, they can be charged with a crime. However, there are actually two different crimes that could apply to the person who receives that gift, depending on the situation. They could either be charged with bribery or with extortion.
California Penal Code (PC) 518 defines extortion (also commonly known as blackmail) as “the obtaining of property or other consideration from another, with his or her consent” through “a wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right.” If someone receives goods or services from someone by threatening them or using their position, they are guilty of extortion.
This is different from bribery. The main difference is the relationship between the person receiving the gift and the person giving it. If the person giving the gift initiates the transaction, that is bribery. If the person receiving the gift initiates it and does not offer anything in return, that is extortion.
As usual, the line can be blurred. And sometimes, a person being extorted is wrongfully convicted of bribing the person extorting them. If that’s the case, a criminal defense lawyer can help set the record straight.
Long Beach Bribery Lawyer Near Me (310) 928-9347
The Penalties for Bribery in California
The penalties for a bribery charge can range in California, and will depend on the person being bribed, the value of the bribe, and the criminal record of the person being charged. In the majority of cases, bribery is charged as a felony. The punishment for felony bribery includes:
- Four years in state prison
- Felony probation
- Substantial fines
- Possible forced removal from office
However, California has different laws for bribery depending on who is offered the bribe. In the case of commercial bribery, the penalties can be slightly less harsh.
If a commercial bribe is less than $1,000, it is a misdemeanor charge. The punishment for that includes up to a year in county jail.
If a commercial bribe is more than $1,000, it’s a felony charge. Felony commercial bribery could get you up to three years in state prison or felony probation.
How Much does a Bribery Lawyer Cost in Long Beach?
It’s understandable that you would be worried about the cost of your lawyer. You can opt for a free public defender, but they receive so many cases per month that they are often too busy to build a good case for you. When you pay your lawyer, they are able to put more time and effort into your defense.
The price of your lawyer will depend on your situation, and the way that they get paid will depend on what they prefer. In general, lawyers get paid in three different ways:
- Flat fee, which is a series of fixed fees for each stage of your case. Those fees won’t be changed if your defense ends up taking more work than your lawyer expects.
- Contingency fee, which comes out of any compensation the client receives for their case. These only occur in civil cases, and will most likely not apply to clients accused of bribery.
- Hourly rates, which depend on how long a lawyer works on your case.
No matter what pay structure your bribery lawyer in Long Beach uses, the price that they charge will depend on the difficulty of your case, how long it is likely to take, and any extra expenses involved like subpoena fees or transportation to and from the courthouse.
The best way to figure out how much it may cost to hire an attorney in Long Beach is to get a free consultation with them. When you first meet with your lawyer, they will assess your case and tell you how much they think their services will cost.
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Talk to a Long Beach Bribery Attorney Today
Being accused of bribery is serious. It can mean huge fees, jail time, and the possible end of your professional or political career. The Long Beach bribery lawyers at Simmrin Law Group want to help you avoid the harsh penalties that the prosecutor may try to impose.
Call us or contact us online for your FREE initial consultation. Talking to a lawyer could be your first step to getting your penalties reduced or your charge expunged.