Bribery Charges in California
Getting hit with bribery charges can be scary. You’re worried that you’re going to have to spend time behind bars, and that your life could be ruined. Even though you’re in a tough situation, the good thing is that you still have a certain level of control. By learning about bribery charges in California and choosing the right person to represent you, you could have a much better chance of getting your charges reduced or dropped altogether.
Need representation for bribery? Then get in touch with Robin D. Perry. The Law Offices of Robin D. Perry & Associates provide vigorous representation to clients and are a goal-oriented and values-driven firm. We develop creative strategies to win every case, every time and are confident we can help you with your bribery case. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation.
All About Bribery Charges in California
Bribery involves giving, offering, or taking something that is valuable with corrupt intent to unlawfully influence an individual in a position of trust to do something you want. It could involve money, gifts, rewards, services, donations, favors, etc. This is a white collar crime, like public corruption, insurance fraud, money laundering, and mortgage fraud, and can occur in the public or private sector.
For example, a politician may bribe other politicians with gifts to get pieces of legislation passed. In the commercial sector, a company owner might bribe customs officials to make sure their goods are expedited through a port. A parent may bribe a college admissions officer to ensure that their son or daughter gets into the school. There have been many large-scale, high profile bribery cases in the news, but bribery can happen on a smaller scale as well.
To demonstrate that someone is guilty of bribery, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to injure or defraud someone. The penalties that the defendant faces will be based on the severity of the crime as well as the amount of money involved. The defendant’s criminal history, if they have one, could also be a factor in determining the charges.
Penalties for Bribery Charges in California
In California, bribery is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. You can be charged whether you gave or received a bribe. It doesn’t even matter whether or not the bribe was acted on if you intended to go through with it. A bribe does not need to be exchanged for a specific favor; it can also be exchanged for general favors. For instance, a company may bribe a newspaper to report only positive things about them in articles.
Commercial bribery occurs when an employee takes a bribe from someone in exchange for using their position as an employee to benefit the other person. For example, this could include paying an elected official to ensure they vote a certain way on a new law.
If the amount involved in the commercial bribe is between $250 and $1,000, the crime is a misdemeanor and punishable by up to one year in county jail. If the bribe is for more than $1,000, then this is considered a felony, and it’s punishable by 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison.
Other types of bribery are felony offenses, and are punishable by up to four years in state prison, or felony or formal probation.
Defending Against Bribery Charges
It is on the prosecutor to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of bribery. This means they need the right evidence to prove your guilt.
You can defend against bribery charges by saying that you did not act with corrupt intent. You did not intend to bribe someone or receive a bribe in exchange for a favor.
Additionally, perhaps you were falsely accused of this crime. Someone may have reported you for bribery, when in fact they were just seeking revenge or they misinterpreted a situation.
Entrapment is another defense for bribery. This occurs when an undercover police officer persuades you to do something you might not have otherwise done if you weren’t put into that situation.
If you have any evidence to show that you are innocent, you should present it to your criminal defense attorney to use in your case.
Plea Bargain vs. Going to Trial
When it comes to criminal cases, you have two options: You can take a plea bargain, or go to trial. Essentially, with a plea bargain, you plead guilty or no contest so that your charges could be reduced. For instance, if you were sentenced to four years in state prison for felony bribery, that could potentially be reduced to two years with a plea bargain.
If you have the evidence to prove your innocence and your criminal defense attorney is confident that the prosecutor doesn’t have a solid case against you, your attorney may recommend that you take your case to trial instead. That way, they can fight the charges and have a chance of getting them dropped altogether.
Usually, criminal cases end in plea bargains. This is because the court system is backed up, and prosecutors would rather come to an agreement outside of it. Still, this doesn’t mean you have to take a plea bargain. It’s up to you and your criminal defense attorney to decide what to do.
Keep in mind that the court can give you a public defender for free, or you can hire a private criminal defense attorney on your own. While a public defender is capable of representing you, they are usually representing multiple people at once, and will not have the time or energy that’s necessary for your case. They may not be available to you when you need them, either. If you don’t get the attention you deserve, this could have disastrous consequences for your future.
That’s why it’s best to invest in a criminal defense attorney instead. They will be dedicated to your case and work hand in hand with you to decide what course of action to take. Then, you’ll have more peace of mind during this difficult time.
Contact Robin D. Perry & Associates
If you need representation for a bribery charge, then it’s time to get in touch with the Law Offices of Robin D. Perry & Associates today. No matter what, we will fight on your behalf during your time of need. Call us at 562-216-2944 or contact us on our website for a free consultation.