Man holding money in handcuffs

Bribery and Bail in California

Man holding money in handcuffsGovernment corruption and bribery are taken very seriously in the United States. Attempting to bribe a police officer or court official is an attack upon the entire justice system and any official who accepts a bribe calls the nature of the government and justice system into doubt. For that reason, there are both state and federal laws aimed at ensuring that individuals who give or receive bribes shall be seriously punished.


California covers bribery under Penal Code Section 92-100. This covers attempts to bribe an official as well as the crime of accepting a bribe. A bribe does not have to be monetary in nature. The statute also covers attempts to influence court officials and jurors via promises of non-monetary compensation and threats of violence or other forms of intimidation. In all cases, upon conviction, the suspect will be required to pay restitution as well as being sentenced to a prison term dependent upon the specific nature of the crime.  If an individual finds themselves sentenced to a prison term, a bail bond might be their way to freedom.

Bribery and Prison Sentences

According to California law, anyone who has been found guilty of bribing or attempting to bribe a judge, juror, arbitrator, or any other individual empowered to adjudicate a controversy by California may be sentenced to a term two, three or four years of imprisonment. Multiple counts of bribery may result in a higher sentence from the court or the decision to have the sentences run consecutively rather than concurrently. In addition, attempting to influence an individual by means of threats can result in additional charges being filed against the defendant.

Financial Penalties

Individuals who have been found guilty of bribery or attempted bribery may also find themselves facing substantial financial penalties. In California, attempting to bribe a juror can result in a fine as large as $10,000.

Bail Bonds and Bribery Cases

In general, a court sets bail based on a number of considerations, including whether or not the suspect is charged with a violent crime, his or her flight risk, and the nature of the crime itself. For this reason, the bail for individuals who have been charged with bribery can vary dramatically from case to case. For example, someone who has been charged with bribery combined with threats to convince the target to accept the bribe will likely face a higher bail amount than an individual simply charged with offering a non-violent bribe. In addition, the reason for the bribe will impact the level of bail demanded by the court; someone who is accused of attempting to bribe a clerk to avoid a traffic ticket will face a lower bail amount than someone accused of attempting to sway a felony criminal trial.

In California, most superior court systems have a bail schedule that defines the typical amount of bail based upon the maximum prison sentence offered for the charge. However, multiple counts of bribery will result in a higher amount of bail, as will the suspect’s previous criminal history. Finally, the district attorney’s office may request that the court increase the amount of bail demanded a specific case.

In general, a bail bond agency charges the suspect or those who are seeking to bail him or her out of jail about 10 percent of the total bail amount. This can allow the defendant to continue to work or care for his or her family while the case is being heard. This can be especially useful in ensuring that the defendant can adequately prepare for the court case and maximize his or her chances of obtaining a favorable verdict.

Bribery is a very serious charge, and individuals facing this should be aware of their rights and responsibilities. Anyone facing a bribery charge should immediately seek out a skilled criminal defense attorney and bail bonds agency in order to ensure that he or she can present an effective defense to the court.

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