Committing Bribery in California
While we would like to think that all official positions are rid of corrupt practices, unfortunately, that is not the case. In California, there are a broad set of laws that deal with cases of bribery, which is the attempt to offer money or other incentives so as to influence an outcome. For example, it would be considered a bribe to offer money to the police officer arresting you, with hopes of not getting arrested.
In the California Penal Code, bribery laws deal with bribing public employees, legislative officers, witnesses and jurors, and public corporations. All of these laws have consequences for both the person who bribes another party, and the party that accepts the bribe. These laws affect police officers and chiefs, judges, jurors, senators, councillors, district attorneys, coroners, and witnesses. Furthermore, bribery does not necessarily require the exchange of valuable goods, but rather it can also be made through speech or any other coercive measure.
When generalizing bribery cases, on average the prosecution must prove a few elements to be true: a bribe was offered or asked for and made with corrupt intentions, something was exchanged, and the final outcome corruptly influenced an official matter. All bribery convictions carry a felony classification, and have severe punishments. While the penalties vary with the specific laws, there are usually prison sentences, fines, and for those who accepted the bribe, forfeiture of office. Finally, depending on the context of the bribe, there can also be restitution payments made. However, if someone is falsely accused of bribing someone or for accepting a bribe, it is imperative that they seek the advice of an experienced criminal attorney. Bribery charges are not minor, and can have lasting effects on careers and lives.