LOS ANGELES BRIBERY DEFENSE LAWYER
Bribery is a very serious accusation that can have severe consequences for your reputation, personal life, career, and even result in imprisonment. Under California law, many forms of bribery are considered felonies and apply to both the person offering a bribe and the person accepting it. Facing bribery charges in Los Angeles could be subject to harsh penalties.
If you’re accused of bribery, there are several legal defenses that can be used to challenge the charges. It’s essential to have a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side who can increase the chances of getting the charges dismissed, reduced, or acquitted. Tabibnia Law Firm is led by Cyrus Tabibnia, who has been recognized as one of the top white-collar criminal defense attorneys in Los Angeles. With his experience and expertise, his is committed to aggressively defending your clients against bribery charges and seeking full exoneration for them.
Legal Definition of Bribery California
The term ‘bribe’ refers to anything that is considered valuable or beneficial, either now or in the future, or any promise or commitment made to provide something that is asked for, given, or accepted with the intention of unlawfully influencing the person who receives it. This influence can be related to their vote, opinion, or action in any public or official capacity and must be done with corrupt intentions.
In other words,, bribery is a crime that involves offering, giving, asking for, or receiving anything with the intention of influencing an official act or opinion in a corrupt way. It doesn’t matter if the bribe is accepted or not; the mere act of offering it is a criminal offense. Additionally, even if an official only suggests that a payment or service could influence their actions, they could still face criminal charges if their behavior deviates from their normal duties.
Common Bribery Charges in California
Under California law, there are different types of bribery charges, and each type has its own definition. The consequences of a bribery charge will depend on the specific type of charge you’re facing. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that both offering and accepting bribes are illegal.
The two most frequent types of bribery charges in California are:
1) Political Bribery
In California, if a political official accepts money or any other valuable item, it is considered political bribery. The state’s Penal Codes (PC) 85 and 86 specify that it is illegal to pay a legislator to vote in a particular way or not attend certain committees. Additionally, blackmailing legislators is also prohibited under this law.
However, it’s not just officials who are barred from accepting bribes. Legislators themselves are also forbidden from doing so. That said, it’s not uncommon for politicians and public officials to be falsely accused of bribery, whether by accident or through malicious intent. For example, a friend may give a gift to a politician without any ulterior motives, but a supporter or opponent of another politician could twist the situation to make it seem like bribery when it really isn’t.
2) Commercial Bribery
Commercial bribery is the business world’s equivalent of a bribery charge. It occurs when someone affiliated with a business, such as an employee, agent, or trustee, accepts payment from a person outside of their employer with the intent to use their position to benefit the payor.
It’s worth noting that there may be situations that are falsely construed as commercial bribery, and some people may want to wrongfully accuse professionals of wrongdoing.
Regardless of the type of bribery you’re accused of, it can have severe repercussions on your career, even if you’re not ultimately convicted. This is why it’s crucial to have a defense lawyer who can not only work to minimize the potential consequences but also potentially get your charge expunged from your record.
Examples of Bribery in California:
Here are some examples of what would and wouldn’t be considered bribery under California law:
- Would be considered bribery:
- A businessman offers a government official $10,000 to grant a permit for a project.
- A politician gives a judge a gift in exchange for a favorable ruling.
- A lobbyist promises a legislator campaign donations in exchange for their support of a bill.
- Would not be considered bribery:
- A friend gives a politician a birthday gift with no expectation of any favor or preferential treatment.
- A company invites a government official to a free event to learn about a new technology without any strings attached.
- A citizen offers a police officer a cup of coffee or other small token of appreciation, without any expectation of favorable treatment or leniency.
It’s important to note that the distinction between bribery and non-bribery is often based on the intent of the parties involved. If there is a corrupt intent to influence an official’s actions or decision-making, then it may be considered bribery.
What Are Penalties for Bribery?
The penalties for a bribery charge in California depend on various factors, such as the amount of money offered and the type of bribery involved. The severity of the punishment may also be influenced by the negotiation skills of your criminal defense attorney.
- For commercial bribery, the bribe amount determines the charge. If it is under $1,000, the charge is a misdemeanor, carrying a maximum sentence of one year in county jail. If it exceeds $1,000, it is most likely a felony, which means up to three years in state prison.
- Other forms of bribery are considered felonies, which carry a more severe penalty of up to four years in state prison.
However, these are maximum punishments, and with the assistance of a Los Angeles bribery lawyer, you may be able to reduce or dismiss your sentence. For more information on your potential sentence and how we can help, reach out Cyrus criminal defense attorney for a free consultation.
What Are Legal Defenses for Bribery?
If someone is accused of bribery, the prosecution must prove that the person intended to commit the crime. Therefore, there are several valid defenses against a charge of bribery, including:
- Misunderstanding: Sometimes, what may appear to be a bribe was never intended as such and was simply a misunderstanding. This defense can be used to show that there was no corrupt intent.
- Intoxication: If the accused was under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the point where their mental capacity was diminished, it could support the defense that they had no actual intent to bribe.
- Mistake: There are instances where people may not realize the implications of what they’re doing or saying, leading to suggestions or comments being misconstrued as a bribe in error.
Call Our Los Angeles Bribery Defense Lawyer and Let Us Defend Your Rights
When someone is convicted of bribery, they can be sentenced to either county jail or state prison, depending on the severity of the charge. However, judges may also choose to use formal probation, which is also known as felony probation. With formal probation, a convicted offender can avoid prison time by having a probation officer supervise them for a period of three to five years. During this time, they must meet certain terms and conditions, and failing to do so could result in prison time.
With the right attorney, you may be able to avoid prison time altogether. Cyrus, a white collar criminal defense lawyer at Tabibnia Law, has extensive experience using creative and effective defense strategies to help his clients. When you work with him, you’re not just getting one attorney – you’re getting the entire firm dedicated to your defense. Call 866-713-2159 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.