Orange County Criminal Lawyers
Bribing a Witness in Aliso Viejo
Bribing a witness is when a witness changes their testimony or makes an agreement to not appear at a trial in exchange for money or anything of value. It is a felony crime to give, offer to give, or make a promise of a bribe to a witness to give information to law enforcement about a crime and act with corrupt intent to persuade them to influence the testimony. This could consist of the witness not testifying, providing a false account of a situation, giving a witness something in exchange for lying under oath to benefit someone else, or attempting to blackmail or threaten a witness.
In the city of Aliso Viejo and in the state of California, offering a bribe, bribing, or receiving a bribe as a witness is a felony.
According to California Penal Code 137, it is an offense to give a bribe to a witness with the intention to corrupt and influence their testimony in a legal proceeding.
California Penal Code 138(a) deals with bribery offered or given to a witness regarding their attendance at a legal proceeding, while Penal Code 138(b) addresses bribes taken by a witness to influence their attendance or testimony in court.Elements That the Prosecutor Must Prove
For a prosecutor to succeed at bringing charges against you, they must prove the following key elements:
- That you offered or gave a bribe
- That it was actually a bribe
- That the bribe was to a witness or someone about to give material information
- That there was material information involved to prove a crime
- That the material information was about to be given to law enforcement
- That your actions were meant to corrupt the witness or person about to give material information to law enforcement
- That you intended to act in such a manner
- That the purpose of the bribe was to influence the person’s testimony or information in the legal proceeding
An example of bribing a witness would be someone that accidentally hits a car, but doesn’t leave the necessary information or say anything about it. As a result, they are later arrested. However, they are aware that there was a witness who saw them committing this crime. Later, they attempt to offer them $1,000.00 dollars to in exchange for their cooperation and silence.
A common defense for bribing a witness is by appealing to the lack of corrupt intent. The defendant might say that there was never a bribe in the first place or that someone else coerced you into committing the bribery.Penalties
Under PC 137 and 138, the felony charge of bribing a witness attracts a penalty of up to 4 years in state prison if you are convicted.
Since this is a serious offense that can easily land you in jail, it is important to find an experienced defense attorney with experience in this specific kind of case to defend you. At the Johnson Criminal Law Group, we fight for your rights – contact us now.