Bribery involves offering, promising, giving, soliciting, and/or receiving any item of value, be it cash, jewelry or stocks with the intention of influencing the actions of a public official. Accepting a bribe is as much a criminal act as offering a bribe. Both are equally punishable by law. Bribery may be committed on a small or large scale and applies in various areas of society including politics, sports, business, and the judicial system.
Depending on the circumstances of the bribe charge and who was involved, bribery may be prosecuted under either California state law or federal law.
Although bribery is a crime, there are gray areas surrounding what actually constitutes bribery. This is especially true surrounding politics. Some actions are considered as normal practices, but others may be considered a bribe blurring the line between legal and illegal activity. These blurred lines lead people to sometimes commit bribery unknowingly.
How the Law Offices of David A. Stein Can Help You With a Bribery Charge
David Stein has successfully represented hundreds of individuals facing charges ranging from misdemeanors to serious felonies, including bribery. His legal expertise, and his relationships with judges and prosecutors, has resulted in dismissals or lessening of charges for his clients.
The Law Offices of David A. Stein, located in Irvine, is available to our clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Before talking to law enforcement, call for a free consultation about your case at (949) 445-0040. We will explain your options, tell you what to expect with a bribery charge and advise you of the best course of action. Avoid excessive or unjust penalties that can jeopardize your future. You can also reach us online by email here.
Bribery Under California Law
As defined under California Penal Code Section 67, a person is guilty of the crime of bribery if they are proven to have offered or given any bribe to any public official or executive officer in the state with the intent to influence a decision, action, vote, opinion, or other proceeding in the course of that officer’s duty.
In the state of California, bribery is punishable by state imprisonment for two, three, or four years. In addition, if the guilty party holds a state office, they may never again hold office in California.
Any executive or ministerial officer, appointee, or employee of the state, or any California county, city, or political officer who asks, receives, or agrees to receive a bribe will be required to pay a restitution fine between $2,000 and $10,000 or the amount of the actual bribe, depending on whether the bribe was received or not, in addition to a prison sentence. These penalties also apply to any juror, judicial officer, arbitrator, referee, or umpire, as per Section 92 of the Penal Code.
Bribery Under Federal Law
Generally, federal crimes are punished more harshly than state crimes, and bribery is no exception. Under 18 U.S. Code § 201, any person who indirectly or directly gives, offers, or promises something of value to a public official in an attempt to influence an act of office, elicit an act of fraud, or a elicit a violation of lawful duty is guilty of bribery. A Federal bribery charge is punishable by a fine that is, at least, equivalent to three times the value of the bribe, a maximum prison sentence of 15 years, and being disqualified from holding any U.S. office of trust, honor, or profit.
These penalties also apply to any public official who demands, seeks, accepts, agrees to receive or actually receives a bribe.
If you have been accused of bribery, Orange County defense attorney David A. Stein will aggressively defend your legal rights. He will help you if you are charged with a white-collar crime or a business crime. He practices in both State and Federal court. Contact Mr. Stein today at (949) 445-0040.