If you have been accused of bribery in California, you may wish to contact the financial crimes lawyers at My Rights Law today for a free consultation. We’ll help you take the necessary steps toward resolving your case. Contact us by completing our secure web form or call (888) 702-8882 to learn more.
Imagine this. A rising politician is running for office. His younger brother gets arrested on a petty drug charge. Although the politician did nothing wrong, he knows that his brother’s arrest can damage his reputation and election chances if word gets out. The politician decides to slip an envelope with money and a letter to a person who can get the brother out of jail and erase his criminal record. Days later, he’s arrested under California penal code 67—bribery of an executive officer. If you follow the news, stories like this are not hard to come by. The police arrest people, not just politicians, for bribing executive officers or for bribing as an executive officer. To learn more about bribery, continue reading.
If California police have charged you with bribery, you should immediately contact a bribery defense attorney. Bribery can be a state-level offense or a federal-level offense. However, regardless of whether the attorney general brings state or federal charges against you, having a jury find you guilty of this felony is the last thing you want on your plate. A bribery conviction can end your political ambitions and land you behind bars. Aside from lengthy incarceration, you’ll likely face embarrassment and long-term consequences that can follow you for years.
Fortunately, you can avoid these harsh conditions by hiring prestigious criminal defense attorneys from My Rights Law. Our attorneys have years of experience and have gotten countless clients out of hot water. If you’d like to benefit from our services, contact us today at (888) 702-8882 or online for a free initial consultation.
Bribery As A California State Offense
Penal Code 67 P.C.
Penal Code 67 bribery is a state and a federal offense. Under state law, it is a crime to intentionally offer or give money to executive officers to influence their decisions. Board members (i.e., president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, etc.) and anyone responsible for running an organization or having executive powers, such as a police chief, are executive officers. Remember that the law doesn’t require you to offer physical money. Offering something with monetary value like a vehicle or an all-expenses-paid trip out of the country are forms of bribery. Also, suspects cannot escape this charge by being executive officers themselves. Rather, prosecutors may charge them under both penal codes.
Penal Code 68 P.C.
Penal Code 68 occurs when an officer requests, agrees to, or accepts a bribe in exchange for a favor. For example, if you’re a police officer and agree to sweep something under the rug for money, you’re guilty of this offense. If you’re a judge and agree to block a bill after receiving money, you’ve committed this offense.
Bribery of an executive officer is a felony offense in California. A judge may sentence you up to four years if a jury finds you guilty. In rare cases, the judge may sentence you to formal felony probation instead of prison. However, there is an additional potential penalty if an executive officer does the bribing. If you commit bribery under state penal code 68, a judge may order you to pay up to $10,000 in fines regardless of whether you actually took the bribe or merely agreed to take it. At a minimum, you must pay $2000 if you take the bribe. Fortunately, the court must consider your ability to pay this restitution fine, which may work to your benefit.
Other negative consequences of either crime include:
Disqualification from being in office in any state
Loss of certain certifications and licenses
Loss of gun ownership rights
Please note that a significant result of conviction means forfeiture of political position and ties.
Offenses Related To Bribery
Prosecutors often bring multiple charges against suspects. If the Golden State charges you with bribery, it may also charge you with closely related crimes like:
Penal Code 85 P.C. Bribery of Legislators (i.e., bribing a legislative member for corrupt means, to suppress the truth, or affect votes is punishable by up to four years)
Penal Code 86 P.C. Bribery by Legislators (i.e., accepting or agreeing to accept a bribe to influence your vote or actions as a legislative member is punishable by up to four years or a fine of up to $10,000 if the member only agreed to accept the bribe but was caught before taking it)
Penal Code 165 PC Bribery of County Supervisors or Public Corporations (i.e., giving or receiving money as a member of a county council, city council, or public corporation to influence votes and decision making)
If you’re concerned about how this charge will destroy your political standing, put your fears to rest. There are viable defenses at your disposal. We include common defenses to bribery of an executive officer below. However, you should speak with one of our knowledgeable penal code 67-68 defense lawyers for a more detailed defense of your unique case. Contact us online or by calling (888) 702-8882 today for a free initial consultation.
Entrapment occurs when an officer coerces you with such overwhelming pressure to commit a crime that you could not reasonably and possibly say no. For entrapment to be a defense, you must prove that the officer did more than offer the mere opportunity to commit the crime. Instead, the officer must have put significant pressure on you. Moreover, you must prove that you’re a law-abiding citizen who wouldn’t have committed the crime without the officer’s use of threats, fraud, harassment, or flattery.
People lie, especially in the world of politics—or so they say. Unfortunately, someone may lie about you offering a bribe to an officer. A person may accuse you of this crime for personal gain, revenge, or other reasons. What matters is proving your accuser’s ulterior motives by pointing holes in their story. There are various ways in which you may prove a witness is lying, such as:
Demonstrating you were not where they said you were at a given time
Establishing inconsistencies in their statements
Getting them to confess to their lies.
Lack Of Corrupt Intent
As with many crimes, there needs to be criminal intent. In this case, prosecutors must show that you had corrupt intent when offering the bribe. If the facts of your circumstances don’t point to dishonest intentions, jurors should find you not guilty.
Bribery As A Federal Offense
The consequences of committing bribery on a federal level are far more severe. 18 U.S. Code § 201 governs the federal bribery law. Federal bribery occurs when you:
Directly or indirectly
Offer money or something of value
To a public official or someone about to become a public official
To influence their actions (e.g., get the public official to perform an official act).
Whether you try to induce them to commit fraud, go against a policy, bill, or statute, or make a decision while they’re in their official capacity, you’ve committed a serious crime.
Similarly, you commit federal bribery when you, as a public official:
Directly or indirectly
Accept, agree to accept, demand, or pursue getting
Money or something of value
In exchange for having your actions influenced.
In other words, the attorney general may charge public officials under this statute whether the officials are the offerors or the offerees. But some clarity is necessary. Here, a “public official” is a Congress member, delegate, resident commissioner, or anyone working for a federal government department, such as I.C.E. and Department of Veteran Affairs. Someone is only “about to become a public official” when the appropriate agency nominates them or officially tells them of the upcoming nomination.
A court may sentence you up to fifteen years in federal prison if convicted. The court can also fine you up to three times the bribe amount. Therefore, if you accept a bribe of $500,000, you may have to pay back $1,500,000 in restitution. This exorbitant debt will not likely go away in your lifetime post-incarceration. You may wish to consult strategic federal bribery defense attorneys.
If a jury convicts you of international bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, you may serve as many as five years in prison and pay hundreds of thousands to millions in fines.
You may use the same defenses for federal-level bribery as state-level bribery. However, due to the nature of federal crimes, cooperating if others were involved or seeking a plea deal may be just as advantageous as fighting the charges.
Contact An Experienced Financial Crime Attorney At My Rights Law
Now that you understand the seriousness of these bribery charges, you may see how vital it is to choose a law firm with results. You can read our many victories here and our reviews. A California bribery charge could seriously impact your life. Contact us through our secure web form today to obtain a free case consultation from a skilled California bribery lawyer to learn about your legal rights and options. Call (888) 702-8882 to speak with an experienced California bribery lawyer today.