Bribery Law & Defense
PC 67, 68, & 641.3(a)
Information on the crime of bribery is found at penal code sections 67, 68 and 641.3(a).
There are several variations of bribery charges to cover the different circumstances under which bribery may occur. For example, commercial bribery is charged under PC 641.3, whereas political bribery is charged under PC 67 and PC 68. Other bribery charges exist but the following is a review of the most common bribery charges, bribery of an executive officer.
In general, to prove that the defendant is guilty of the crime of bribery of an executive officer, 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
Bribery occurs when a government employee, such as an officer, 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 foregoing criminal prosecution, or giving a permit to a construction developer that is otherwise not entitled to the 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
As stated, bribery may be charged under several penal code sections. Only the most common charges of bribery, and their associated sentences are listed:
PC 641.3(a): Commercial bribery, may be charged either as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the amount of money received in the bribery.
Commercial bribery of a $1,000 or less is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum 180 day jail sentence. Commercial bribery over a $1,000 is a felony and carries a maximum 3 year prison sentence.
PC 67: Bribery of a state executive officer, is charged as a felony and carries up to a maximum 4 year prison sentence.
PC 68: An officer asking for or receiving a bribe, is charged as a felony and carries up to a maximum 4 year prison sentence.
Probation Sentences: Probation is a period of supervision in lieu of jail or prison. Terms of probation must be followed or the defendant will be in violation of probation and may thereafter be sentenced to jail or prison. Probation sentences may be available to the defendant in some bribery cases depending on the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history.
Note: If the defendant is not granted probation for a PC 67 or PC 68 bribery charge then the defendant must serve his or her sentence in an actual state prison (as opposed to a county). also, prison sentences associated with PC 67 or PC 68 convictions may not be suspended or split (PC 1170(h)).
Moral Turpitude Crime: Bribery crimes are considered crimes involving moral turpitude. A crime involving moral turpitude is a crime that is considered to be morally wrong and carries negative consequences for licensed professionals and non-U.S. citizens. See professionals or immigrants.
Three Strikes Law: Bribery crimes are not considered serious or violent crimes under California's Three Strikes Law. Neither PC 641.3(a), PC 67, nor PC 68 is considered a strike crime.
In addition to a possible jail or prison sentence, criminal convictions of bribery can lead to other severe penalties, including: Immigration consequences ( for non-U.S. citizens), professional licensing consequences, penalty fines, civil lawsuits, restraining orders, employment loss, probation or parole terms, loss of civil rights (including the right to own or possess firearms for felony convictions), and more.
Defenses to Bribery
Common defenses to bribery charges include: entrapment, mistake of fact, insufficient evidence, statute of limitations, coerced confessions, illegal search and seizure, and more.
For more information on the common defenses to bribery crimes, including PC 641.3(a) commercial bribery, PC 67 bribery of an executive officer, or PC 68, state officer asking for or receiving a bribe, please visit defenses.
If you have been charged with the crime of bribery, contact our criminal defense lawyers to learn your rights and defense options without delay. Our criminal attorneys are available seven days a week and we offer free consultations. Call today!
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