38-year-old San Bruno driver (name withheld for privacy) could have only had a DUI on his record, instead, charges of obstructing an officer have been levied against him. When he was stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, the arresting officer searched him. Upon finding a large wad of cash in his pocket, the officer claims that he attempted to bribe him with it in return for allowing him to leave without being arrested. The amount he allegedly offered was around $1,100.
Now, he faces felony bribery charges in addition to a misdemeanor DUI count. In the state of California, bribery charges are taken very seriously. Any attempt to pay off a police officer, for example, can result in charges pursuant to CA Penal Code 67 (bribery of executive officers). According to the law, an individual cannot even offer monies or valuable items to such an officer without dire consequences.
The penalty for bribery, if convicted, may include hefty fines and imprisonment. With very few exceptions, bribery is nearly always considered a felony in California. The driver could have been sentenced to anywhere from 2-4 years in state prison for his misstep during his DUI arrest. He may have even had to pay restitution to the state in the amount of $2,000, even though this is nearly twice the amount he originally allegedly offered to the arresting policeman. In the end, however, he was sentenced to 45 days in county jail and 3 years of probation. What would he be facing now if he hadn’t attempted to bribe an officer of the law? A misdemeanor DUI charge (CA Vehicle Code 23152(a)) would have been much less expensive and a lot less trouble, only costing him about $1,500 in fines maximum and probably no jail time at all.