What is the definition of bribery in California?

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2023 | Bribery

Bribery is offering something of value to influence someone in a public or official capacity illegally. Whether you’re receiving or giving, it would count as bribery.

Commercial bribery

California uses the term “commercial bribery” to refer to cases in which an employee takes a bribe. If someone asks you to use your position to give them preferential treatment, you can’t oblige. Commercial bribery could be a misdemeanor, depending on how much the bribe was and other crime details. In general, the value of the bribe must be greater than $1,000 for it to be a felony. Other types of bribery, however, are felonies.

Examples of bribery

You can’t illegally influence jurors, board members, council members, witnesses, or elected officials. Giving blank checks in exchange for a favor is bribery. A less-common example that many people don’t realize is bribery is offering cash or another item of value to a private-sector employee in exchange for information on their employer. Media outlets aren’t exempt from bribery laws. You also can’t pay people for their votes.

Types of bribes

A bribe could be something of present or future value. Promising to pay or reward them in the future still counts as bribery, even if you never gave them the promised item before law enforcement caught you. Offering your kidney would count as a bribe because this has value. Bribing someone for simple favors is still illegal too.

Whether the exchange benefits you or another person, it counts as bribery. California also doesn’t distinguish between a successful or a failed attempt. If someone declines your request, the state could still charge you with bribery.

California has clear laws in place to define what counts as bribery. Offering or agreeing to accept something of value in exchange for special treatment or abuse of one’s position is illegal.

FindLaw Network
Gary Jay Kaufman
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