In California, bribery is an unethical, corrupt attempt to influence the actions of a public official or employee, a witness in a court case, or individuals in a commercial business setting—usually through money, favors, or other things of value. Bribery was made punishable in order to curb efforts by corrupt individuals to influence elections, court decisions, trials, company contracts, and any other action that may give the offender an unfair advantage or an undeserved reward.
Per Penal Code § 641.3, bribery consists of soliciting, accepting, or agreeing to accept money or other items of value from any party besides your employer in return for using your position to benefit the individual so offering. Both parties to this exchange are subject to bribery charges.
Bribery often involves individuals required to act impartially:
The type of office held by the individual approached with a bribe or who accepted a bribe can affect the specific penalties, as can the value of the bribe itself. If less than $1,000, a bribe can lead to a jail term of up to 1 year; if more than $1,000, the prison sentence may reach 3 years.
Other factors the court may take into account include:
There are few potential outcomes when facing bribery charges. Those who are convicted commonly face multi-year prison terms and financial penalties that can range very high, depending on whether the bribe was received. Elected officials who are found guilty of accepting bribes are disqualified from holding office in California, which will stop a career in its tracks. An experienced attorney with deep knowledge of California bribery laws is absolutely critical in any pursuit of minimized or dropped charges as well as not guilty verdicts.
Okabe & Haushalter consists of a team of accomplished, driven attorneys who are dedicated to the advocacy of the accused in all matters of criminal defense. Our firm focuses on working closely with clients in order to build a strong defense strategy that will provide the best opportunity for a favorable outcome. We have handled many high-profile cases in our years of service, and our attorneys are regularly called upon to discuss legal matters in the media.
We are prepared to represent the accused on either end of a bribery charge. Whether you have been charged with offering or accepting a bribe, our firm knows the necessary steps to give you the best chance at facing down your charges and being able to walk away from them.