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Bribery is a crime that can be charged against a person offering or accepting a bribe. One doesn’t have to receive a bribe for him or her to be charged with bribery.
There are various statues that deal with bribery in Los Angeles. The reason for this could be because the society considers the crime offensive. In simple terms, bribery can be defined as using a gift or money to corrupt a public officer. In California, there are a number of penal code sections dealing with laws involving bribery. Here are a few examples what such sections deal with:
1. Bribery involving legislative officers
2. Commercial bribery
3. Bribery involving judicial officers and jurors
4. Bribery involving public employees
5. Bribery involving supervisors and public corporations
6. Bribery involving witnesses
Bribery is defined in detail under Penal Code 641.3(a).
Elements of bribery charges in Los Angeles
It is always the work of the prosecutor to prove the specific elements of any crime. The same applies to bribery. Anyone charged with bribery is innocent until the prosecutor proves otherwise. Despite your case’s facts, the prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
1. You indeed gave, or offered to give a public official, or
2. A public official received, agreed to receive, or asked for something of value to unlawfully influence an official matter.
The purpose of the bribe could be to:
1. Influence a vote
2. Receive a contract
3. Get a bill passed
4. Get out of a ticket
In Los Angeles, a public official (or officer) refers to judges, jurors, police chiefs, police officers, district attorneys, deputy city coroners, state senators, or witnesses.
Bribery is somewhat different from other crimes; both the person who offers the bribe and the person who accepts the bribe may be convicted. Nevertheless, if you have been charged with bribery, there are various defenses, which your Los Angeles bribery defense attorney can apply to protect your career, reputation, and name.
Penalties for the criminal offense of bribery
Crimes involving bribery are usually taken seriously in Los Angeles. Bribery is a felony offense, meaning any convicted person faces serious criminal penalties. The penalties for this crime include large fines, time in state prison or county jail, and forfeiture of office.
If the bribe is $1000 or less, the jail time is one year. However, if the bribe is more than $1000, the penalty is imprisonment in state prison or county jail for a period of up to 3 years.
If the convicted individual did not receive the bribe, he or she will be required to pay a fine of between $2000 and $10000. On the other hand, if the individual actually received the bribe, the fines will be greater.
Public officers charged with this crime risk losing their positions.
A record of bribery will have a negative influence on your prospects. For instance, it will be difficult to get employed if you have a record bribery.
Please note that the only way to succeed in a bribery case is to have a reputable Los Angeles bribery lawyer. You cannot be convicted if there is no corrupt intent. You may have been charged or arrested due to a misunderstanding.
The prosecutor will work hard to ensure you are behind bars, whether you committed the crime or not. Anything you say at the time of arrest could be used as evidence. Furthermore, the activities you are involved in while under investigation could also be used to link you to the crime. It is therefore important to have a good attorney by your side.
If you have been charged with bribery, we urge you to contact an experienced Los Angeles bribery attorney. Our law firm will help you achieve a positive outcome.