Bribery is defined under California criminal statute as the effort to corruptly influence through payment of money, giving of gift or some other consideration a public official in the performance of their duties. There are many specific laws concerning bribery which are as follows:
a) The bribery of Executive and Ministerial Officers and Public Employees;
b) The bribery of California Legislative Officers;
c) The bribery of Supervisors and Public Corporations;
d) The bribery of Judicial Officers and Jurors;
e) The bribery of Witnesses;
f) Commercial bribery;
There are two parties in bribery cases and in this criminal transaction, the one who offers the bribe and the official who receives the bribe. The bribe need not be monetary in form in order to fall within the ambit of the crime as the bribe benefits can be deduced from the transaction itself.
In order to be convicted of the crime of bribery, the following facts need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
a) An individual gives or offers to give another in a position, who either asks or receives or agrees to receive;
b) Money or benefits or any other item of value;
c) The reason for such giving is a corrupt intent;
d) In exchange for influence on an official matter;
e) The bribery act comes to being;
This crime must be differentiated from extortion. In the crime of extortion, the official is influenced to commit the act through fear. This fear is the defense of the official being extorted and the presence and proof of such fear is sufficient to excuse the officer from any liability. In bribery, there is free will in the acceptance of the money or item of value in exchange for the official act to be done.
When the individual is convicted of the crime of bribery, the following are the imposable penalties:
a) Imprisonment in a county or state penitentiary;
b) Payment of fines;
c) Forfeiture of office;
d) Disqualification from future office
The crime of bribery of county supervisors or public corporations is a serious offense in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.