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Bribery Law & Defense

Penal Code 641.3, 67, & 68

Information on the crime of bribery is found at California penal code section 641.3. To prove that the defendant is guilty of the crime of bribery, the district attorney must prove that the defendant:

  • Gave or offered something of value to an executive officer, and
  • When the defendant gave or offered something of value he or she did so with the intent to unlawfully influence the executive officer's action or decision

In California, bribery occurs when a government employee accepts, or agrees to accept, something of value from any person other than his or her employer, with the intention of giving the person who offered the bribe special treatment, such as forego criminal prosecution, or give a permit to a constuction developer that is otherwise not entitled to a permit.

Something of value, in terms of a bribe, does not have to be money. The value may be a service, legal or illegal, or even a promise to perform a service in the future or abstain from an obligation to perform in the future. The amount of the bribe is not important for the crime of bribery to be complete; however, if the bribery concerns more than a thousand dollars then the defendant may be charged with more serious bribery charges. 

It is crime to offer a bribe, accept a bribe, or even request a bribe; therefore, even if the officer who was solicited to take a bribe does not accept the bribe, or accepts the bribe but does not perform as promised, the crime of bribery is complete.

Sentence for Bribery

Bribery may be charged under several penal code sections. The most common charges of bribery are charged under California penal code sections 641.3, 67, and 68.  These charges are substantially similar insofar as sentence and punishment. The difference in bribery charges are intended to cover every type of scenario under which bribery may occur, i.e. a solicitor of a bribe versus a person who accepts a bribe, etc.

Bribery charged under PC 641.3(a) may be charged either as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the amount of money received in the bribery.

Commercial bribery equal to, or under a thousand dollars, is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to180 and is considered a misdemeanor.

A bribery over one thousand dollars is considered a felony. If the defendant is found guilty of felony bribery (PC 641.3(a)) he or she could face up to 3 years in jail.

In addition to any jail or prison sentence, criminal convictions of bribery can lead to other severe penalties: Immigration issues (non-U.S. citizens), fines, lawsuits, and employment loss, probation sentence, professional license revocation, and more.

If you have been charged with bribery, or penal code 641.3, 67, or 68, contact a criminal defense lawyer to learn your rights and options without delay.

To learn more about the crime of bribery and defenses to penal code 641.3, 67, and 68, contact our criminal defense lawyers today for a free consultation.


Closely related crimes to bribery (PC 641.3)

  • Bribery of real estate broker by title company employer: penal code 641.4
  • Bribery of an executive officer: penal code 641.3(a) & 641.3(b)
  • Bribery of a state executive officer: penal code 67

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California Bribery Law & Defense PC 641.3, 67, 68


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