Bribery is a serious crime. However, sometimes a simple act of kindness or a misunderstanding can lead to a bribery charge. If you get accused of bribery, it is important to protect yourself so that a simple mistake doesn’t end up derailing your life.
At the Simmrin Law Group, we have plenty of experience protecting clients against bribery charges. Our West Covina bribery attorneys will use all available resources to protect you from a conviction or strike a deal for a reduced sentence. Learn more about how we can help by giving us a call or filling out our online contact form today.
Bribery Laws in California
Bribery charges cover a wide range of actions. In the most general terms, bribery is the crime of offering or giving money or gifts with the intent of influencing the recipient.
Of course, there are some situations where bribery is not illegal. Parents often offer children rewards to get them to do things like eating their vegetables. Likewise, a friend may offer a gift to another to do them a personal favor.
However, when a bribe is made with the intent of influencing government or business dealings, a line has likely been crossed. Several different laws cover various forms of bribery in California, including:
- 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
In the business world, the line between what is and what is not considered bribery can be a little fuzzy. Treating a potential client to an expensive dinner may be viewed as a simple step in negotiations. However, accepting money from your employer’s competitor to reveal confidential information fully crosses the line.
In government, things tend to be far more clearcut. All government employees are instructed to never accept any gifts from anyone who could be viewed as attempting to buy influence, even if the gift is, in truth, completely innocent. It is easy to find yourself caught up in a bribery scandal even if no bribery was intended.
You can face charges under California bribery laws whether you were the person offering the bribe or the one accepting it.
For a free legal consultation with a bribery lawyer serving West Covina, call (310) 928-9347
Penalties for a Bribery Charge
The potential penalties for a bribery conviction depend on how the crime gets prosecuted. Commercial bribery is considered a “wobbler.” A wobbler is a crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Typically if the value of the bribe was less than $1,000, it is treated as a misdemeanor, and if it is over $1,000, it is a felony.
When it comes to bribes of government officials or influencing a legal proceeding, the offense is dealt with more harshly. These types of bribes are always treated as felonies no matter the value of the bribe.
If convicted of a misdemeanor, a conviction could result in up to one year in jail. If convicted of felony commercial bribery, it could mean up to three years in prison. All other types of felony bribery can result in up to four years in prison.
West Covina Bribery Lawyer Near Me (310) 928-9347
Defending Against a Bribery Charge
Your bribery lawyer in West Covina can defend you with a variety of arguments. The best defense will depend on the particulars of your situation. Some common defenses against bribery charges include:
- No bribe intended
- False accusation
No Bribe Intended
Sometimes gifts are given that are mistaken as bribes when, in truth, there was no hidden motive behind the item offered or given. If an item was given simply as a gift with nothing expected in return, you may be able to demonstrate this and avoid a conviction.
Sometimes people are falsely accused of offering or accepting a bribe. False accusations occur for many reasons, including revenge by the accuser and a misreading of the situation.
Entrapment is when a law enforcement officer lures or coaxes a person into committing a crime they otherwise would not have committed. If you can show that you only committed the crime because of the actions of law enforcement, you should be able to avoid a conviction.
Hiring a Bribery Attorney in West Covina
If you face a bribery charge, it is important to have an experienced legal professional by your side to help protect you against a potential conviction. A bribery conviction can put you behind bars and completely derail your career. At the Simmrin Law Group, we know how bribery cases are handled in California.
We can use our experience to help beat the charges against you or, at least, minimize the damage. Give us a call or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today. We will review your case, answer your questions, and advise you of your options.