Recently, a 69-year-old former officer with the San Francisco Police Department has been convicted of accepting bribes in exchange for taxi licenses. Working with his long-time friend, the owner of a Taxi service, “Flag-A-Cab,” the man seems to have taken money for passing individuals seeking their taxi license. Prosecutors alleged that he took up to $500 in one month. He was originally charged with 4 counts of bribery.
California bribery laws are complex and varied. There are at least 6 different ways in which to commit bribery, each depending upon the type of person who has taken the bribe. Generally speaking, ‘bribery’ is not difficult to define: it is any attempt to influence a public official in the course of his or her duties. Usually, this is accomplished by offering a sum of money or gifts of various kinds. Under the law, both the person offering the bribe and the person who accepts it are considered guilty. Additionally, the term ‘public official’ could refer to anyone from a police officer to a sitting judge.
Specifically, California Penal Code 67 and 68 deal with the bribery of public employees. Yet, any bribery conviction may end in harsh penalties, as bribery, apart from very particular instances, is a felony crime. This means that a conviction may mean that you will face up to 4 years in prison and be forced to pay restitution, which varies in amount depending upon the sum of the bribe. Lastly, anyone convicted of a bribery charge will be asked to leave their office and will not be allowed to hold that office again.