Bribery of a Witness (PC 137 & 138) in Anaheim

In the city of Anaheim, and in the wider state of California, a bribe has a wide legal definition. In essence, however, a bribe is any incentive including cash or something of value, that is given to a witness in exchange for the witness corrupting their testimony or failing to attend a trial.

An example of bribery of a witness would be an instance where there is a person named John that is guilty of assaulting someone in order to steal their wallet. John puts on a disguise in hopes of getting away with the crime. While John was violently assaulting the other party in order to steal, someone from across the street was able to see John and get a good view of his physical appearance and the crimes he was committing because the victim had pulled John’s mask off during the altercation. John later gets called in as a suspect for the crime and is on trial. Because John wants to leave no witnesses in hopes of not suffering the consequences for his actions, he runs up to the witness and offers him $300 in return for not telling the court about what had occurred and how John is the guilty party responsible. John also adds that if the witness does testify against him, then “something bad will happen” to the witness and his family if he tells the truth to the court. Even if the witness does not accept the bribe, John has still committed bribery of a witness.

Who can be charged with bribery of a witness?

Under California Penal Code 137 and 138, both the person bribing and the person being bribed can be charged with an offense.

  • Under California Penal Code 137 and 138, you can be charged with an offense if you offer a bribe to a person or a witness even if they do not accept the bribe. If you, however, con convince a jury or prosecutor that you did not have a corrupt intent, then you cannot be convicted for this crime
  • Under California Penal Code 138(b), if you are a witness and you accept a bribe, then you can be charged with this crime
Defense against bribery charges

If you are arrested and charged with an offense under California PC 137or PC 138, it is important that you have a competent attorney who is very conversant with such cases. Some of the defense strategies that the attorney may explore on your behalf to prove your innocence include:

  • You were coerced into committing the offense
  • You did not deliberately intend to corrupt the witness or you did not know what was offered to you was a bribe in exchange for some illegal action
  • You were too intoxicated to form corrupt intent
  • Entrapment or you committed the offense because the police lured you into committing the crime.

There are, of course, several other options and defenses that a defense attorney may also explore.

Contact our office today and talk to one of our lawyers if you are charged with bribing a witness. Your call is confidential and will not be used against you as evidence.

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