Penal Code 67 PC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to bribe any executive officer. The category of “executive officers” includes people such as district attorneys and police officers. A violation is a felony punishable by up to 4 years in jail or prison.
Section 67 PC states that “Every person who gives or offers any bribe to any executive officer in this state, with intent to influence him in respect to any act, decision, vote, opinion, or other proceeding as such officer, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three or four years, and is disqualified from holding any office in this state.”
Examples of unlawful acts
- handing a DA an envelope of cash and saying, “let’s drop the charges on my brother.”
- giving a police officer the keys to a car in a trade for not reporting a crime.
- offering a food safety official $50,000 for not reporting contamination with a crop of produce.
A person charged under this statute can always raise a legal defense on his/her behalf. A few common defenses include the accused showing that:
- there was no “executive officer,”
- he/she did not have a corrupt intent, and/or
- the authorities engaged in illegal entrapment.
- custody in jail or prison for up to four years, and/or
- substantial fines.
Note that a judge may award a defendant with felony (or formal) probation in lieu of jail time.
Our California criminal defense attorneys will explain the following in this article:
- 1. When is bribing an executive officer a crime under California law?
- 2. Are there any legal defenses?
- 3. What are the penalties for violating PC 67?
- 4. Will a person suffer any negative immigration consequences?
- 5. Can a party get a conviction expunged?
- 6. How does a PC 67 conviction affect gun rights?
- 7. Are there any related crimes?
1. When is bribing an executive officer a crime under California law?
A prosecutor must prove the following to successfully convict a person under this statute:
- he/she gave or offered a bribe to an executive officer, and
- he/she acted with the corrupt intent to unlawfully inﬂuence that officer’s official act, decision, vote, or opinion.1
As used under this statute, “bribe” means:
- something of present or future value or advantage, or
- a promise to give something of present or future value or advantage.2
A person acts with “corrupt intent” when he or she acts to wrongfully gain a ﬁnancial or other advantage for himself, herself, or someone else.3
Further, an “executive officer” is a government official who may use his or her own discretion in performing his or her job duties.4 Examples include:
- district attorneys,5
- police chiefs,6
- police officers,7 and
- deputy city coroners8.
2. Are there any legal defenses?
Our criminal defense attorneys can answer the following questions as to defenses used for bribery charges:
- is it a valid defense to show that a person was not an executive officer?
- what if an accused had no corrupt intent?
- does entrapment work as a defense?
2.1 No executive officer
It is always a defense under this statute to show that a person, subject to a bribe, was not an “executive officer.” Note, though, that if a bribe was made or offered, then the accused person could be charged of a crime under a different penal code section.
2.2 No corrupt intent
Recall that a person is only guilty in these bribery cases if he/she offered a bribe with a corrupt intent to unlawfully inﬂuence an officer. This means a defendant can always raise the defense that he/she did not act with this intent. Perhaps, for example, the accused gave an officer something of value as a gift.
Entrapment is a common defense to bribery charges. Entrapment occurs when law enforcement lures a person into committing a crime. It is an acceptable legal defense provided that the accused shows he only committed the crime because of the entrapment.
3. What are the penalties for violating PC 67?
A violation of Penal Code 67 is charged as a felony offense.
The crime is punishable by:
- custody in state prison for up to four years, and/or
- substantial fines.
4. Will a person suffer any negative immigration consequences?
A bribery conviction could have negative immigration consequences.
Under California law, some felonies (including a bribery felony) can amount to “aggravated felonies” depending on the facts of the case. If a non-citizen defendant commits one of these offenses, then he/she can be:
Therefore, a guilty charge under these laws can produce a hurtful immigration result if the facts show that the bribery committed amounted to an aggravated felony.
5. Can a party get a conviction expunged?
A defendant convicted under these laws can only get the conviction expunged if he/she avoids prison time (e.g., is penalized with probation or a fine in lieu of a prison term).
Note that defendants cannot get a conviction expunged if he/she receives a prison term as punishment for a crime.
6. How does a PC 67 conviction affect gun rights?
A PC 67 bribery conviction will negatively affect a person’s gun rights.
California’s gun laws say that convicted felons must give up their rights to:
- purchase a gun,
- own a gun, and
- possess a gun.
Since a crime under this statute is a felony offense, a conviction will strip a defendant of his/her gun rights.
7. Are there any related crimes?
Three crimes related to this statute are:
- executive officer taking a bribe – PC 68,
- bribery by and of legislators – PC 85 and 86, and
- bribery of county supervisors or public corporations – PC 165
7.1 Executive officer taking a bribe – PC 68
Penal Code 68 PC is the California statute that makes it a felony for an executive officer to ask for, or receive or agree to, any bribe.
Note that PC 67 penalizes a person for bribing an executive officer, while this statute punishes an executive officer for accepting a bribe.
7.2 Bribery by and of legislators – PC 85 and 86
While legislators and elected officials are the subjects under this statute, Penal Code 67 is reserved for the bribery of executive officers.
7.3 Bribery of county supervisors or public corporations – PC 165
Under Penal Code 165, it is a crime to bribe county supervisors and other local government officials.
As with PC 67, a violation of this law is charged as a felony offense.
For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney, we invite you to contact our law firm at the Shouse Law Group. We represent clients throughout California, including those in Orange County, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Glendale, Burbank, Long Beach, and San Fernando.
- CALCRIM No. 2600 – Giving or Offering a Bribe to an Executive Officer. Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2017 edition). See also United States v. Christensen (2016) 828 F.3d 763. As to the second element, see People v. Gliksman (1978) 78 Cal.App.3d 343.
- California Penal Code 7(6) PC.
- California Penal Code 7(3) PC.
- CALCRIM No. 2600. See also People v. Strohl (1976) 57 Cal.App.3d 347.
- Singh v. Superior Court (1919) 44 Cal.App. 64.
- People v. Finkelstein (1950) 98 C.A.2d 545.
- People v. Markham (1957) 153 Cal.App.2d 263.
- People v. Strohl (1976) 57 Cal.App.3d 347.