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California Penal Code 641.3 - Commercial Bribery Laws


Los Angeles Criminal Defense LawyerAccording to Penal code 641.3, commercial bribery is considered, if an employee asks for, takes, or agrees to take money exceeding $250.00 or something valuable from someone who isn’t their employer, and does this corruptly without their employer knowing or agreeing, in exchange for using their position to help that other person. This also applies to anyone who gives an employee money or something valuable under these circumstances.

Corruptly” means that the person accused intended to harm or deceive their employer, the employer of the person they gave or received something valuable to or from, or a competing company of any of these employers.

When we talk about bribery, it’s often associated with scenarios involving public officials, like offering money to a police officer to avoid trouble or giving kickbacks to government workers for contracts. However, the practice of bribery isn’t limited to the government sphere. It’s also a serious offense in the business world, and this holds true in California.

According to Penal Code 641.3 PC, if an employee working for any company accepts money from someone in return for using their position to help that person gain an advantage, it’s considered a crime known as “commercial bribery.”

641.3:  (a) Any employee who solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept money or any thing of value from a person other than his or her employer, other than in trust for the employer, corruptly and without the knowledge or consent of the employer, in return for using or agreeing to use his or her position for the benefit of that other person, and any person who offers or gives an employee money or any thing of value under those circumstances, is guilty of commercial bribery.

(b) This section does not apply where the amount of money or monetary worth of the thing of value is two hundred fifty dollars ($250) or less.

(c) Commercial bribery is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year if the amount of the bribe is one thousand dollars ($1,000) or less, or by imprisonment in the county jail, or in the state prison for 16 months, or two or three years if the amount of the bribe exceeds one thousand dollars ($1,000).

(d) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Employee” means an officer, director, agent, trustee, partner, or employee.

(2) “Employer” means a corporation, association, organization, trust, partnership, or sole proprietorship.

(3) “Corruptly” means that the person specifically intends to injure or defraud (A) his or her employer, (B) the employer of the person to whom he or she offers, gives, or agrees to give the money or a thing of value, (C) the employer of the person from whom he or she requests, receives, or agrees to receive the money or a thing of value, or (D) a competitor of any such employer.



To secure a conviction under PC 641.3, the prosecution needs to demonstrate the following points:

  • You held a position as an employee within a company.
  • You requested or received a bribe that was worth more than $250 from a person who wasn’t your employer.
  • You did this with a dishonest purpose, specifically aiming to deceive or cause harm to either your employer or a business rival of your employer.
  • You utilized your job position to benefit the other party in return for the bribe; OR
  • You were the individual presenting the bribe under the circumstances mentioned earlier.


Imagine you work as a manager for a well-known technology company in California. One day, a representative from a competing tech company approaches you with an offer. They promise to pay you a substantial amount of money if you provide them with confidential information about your company’s upcoming products and marketing strategies. They want to gain a competitive edge by getting an “inside track” on your company’s plans.

If you agree to their offer and accept the bribe they’re offering, you would be violating Penal Code 641.3, the Commercial Bribery Law in California. This is because you, as an employee (who holds a position as an officer, director, agent, trustee, partner, or regular staff member within that business), are using your position to benefit another person (the representative from the competing company) in exchange for money, without your employer’s knowledge or consent. The intent here is to give the competing company an unfair advantage over your own company.

It’s important to note that both parties involved in this act can be held accountable under this law. Both you, as the recipient of the bribe, and the representative offering the bribe could face legal consequences for engaging in commercial bribery. This law applies to a wide range of businesses and their employees, ensuring that unfair practices that harm employers’ interests are discouraged and punishable by law.


  • Penal Code 137 and 138 PC – bribery of a witness
  • Penal Code 85 and 86 PC – bribery by or of legislators;
  • Penal Code 67 and 68 PC – bribery of executive officer;
  • Penal Code 92 and 93 PC – bribery of judges and jurors;
  • Penal Code 165 PC – bribery of county supervisors.


Breaking this law can lead to either a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the bribe’s value.

If the bribe is $1,000 or lower, you could face a conviction under misdemeanor crimes. This can result in a sentence of up to one year in the county jail.

For bribes exceeding $1,000, you would be charged with a felony crime California. A felony conviction might lead to imprisonment in a state prison for up to three years.

Regarding felonies, a judge has the option to grant you felony probation instead of sending you to prison.


Apart from potential legal penalties, there can be other significant consequences associated with a “Commercial Bribery” crime in California:

  • Employment Impact: A conviction for commercial bribery can seriously affect your current job and future employment opportunities. Employers may be hesitant to hire or retain individuals with a history of dishonesty or unethical behavior.
  • Reputation Damage: Being convicted of a commercial bribery offense can harm your personal and professional reputation. It might be challenging to regain trust within your industry and community.
  • Reputation Damage: Being convicted of a commercial bribery offense can harm your personal and professional reputation. It might be challenging to regain trust within your industry and community.
  • Background Checks: A criminal record, including a commercial bribery conviction, can show up on background checks. This can affect various aspects of your life, such as housing applications and professional licenses.
  • Financial Consequences: Apart from fines associated with the conviction, legal fees and court costs can accumulate, putting a strain on your finances. The time spent dealing with legal matters can also impact your ability to earn income.
  • Immigration Issues: Non-U.S. citizens could face immigration consequences due to a criminal conviction, including potential deportation or difficulty obtaining visas or citizenship.
  • Collateral Consequences: Certain rights might be restricted, such as the right to possess firearms, serve on a jury, or vote, depending on the specifics of the conviction.
  • Future Opportunities: A criminal record can hinder opportunities for education, scholarships, and various types of government assistance.
  • Family and Relationships: The stress and strain of dealing with a criminal case can affect personal relationships, causing emotional distress to you and your loved ones.

Consulting with an experienced bribery defense attorney would help to understand the full range of potential consequences and to strategize the best approach for your situation.


The top defenses our criminal defense lawyer at Tabibnia Law Firm commonly use against PC 641.3 accusations are:

  • Demonstrating that your actions lacked any dishonest intent.
  • Proving that the value involved was under $250.
  • Showing that you obtained something of value with your employer’s agreement.


If you’re found guilty of a misdemeanor commercial bribery offense, you have the chance to get it expunged if you successfully finish either your jail term or probation, depending on what the court ordered.

For felony bribery convictions, the possibility of expungement exists if you were given probation instead of going to prison. It’s worth noting that California’s rules don’t allow expungements for crimes that lead to imprisonment. Contacting with an expungement lawyer Los Angeles is Crucial in commercial bribery cases.


If you’re facing charges under Penal Code § 641.3 PC for Commercial Bribery in California, consider reaching out to a criminal defense lawyer at Tabibnia Law Firm for an initial case assessment. You can contact Cyrus Tabibnia via phone or by using the provided contact form to discuss your situation and receive legal guidance. It’s important to consult with experienced legal professional to understand your options and receive proper legal assistance for your case.

To learn more about what Tabibnia Law firm can do for you, please call (866) 713-2159 for a comprehensive consultation.

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia, also known as Shahrooz Tabibnia, is a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, California. With a law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, he has been practicing law since 2005 and holds license #237348. With over 18 years of experience, Cyrus specializes in various misdemeanor and felony criminal Law including Domestic Violence, Theft Crime, Sex crime, DUI & DWI, Personal Injury, Employment Law, and Cannabis & Marijuana Drugs Law. Being bilingual in English, Persian, and Spanish enables him to effectively communicate with a diverse range of clients. From 2014 to 2018, he served as a board member of the Iranian American Bar Association. An expungement attorney in Los Angeles who can assist you in clearing your criminal record in the state of California.

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