Criminal Law

2610. Giving or Offering a Bribe to a Witness

The defendant is charged [in Count ______] with (giving[,]/ [or] offering[,]/ [or] promising) a bribe to a witness.

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:

1. The defendant (gave[,]/ [or] offered[,]/ [or] promised) a bribe to (a witness[,]/ [or] a person about to be called as a witness[,]/ [or] a person about to give material information to a law enforcement official about a crime)[,] [or to someone acting on the (witness's/ [or] person's) behalf];


2. The defendant acted with the corrupt intent to persuade the (witness/ [or] person) to agree that the bribe would unlawfully influence the (testimony/information) that the (witness/ [or] person) would give.

As used here, bribe means something of present or future value or advantage, or a promise to give such a thing, that is given or offered with the corrupt intent to unlawfully influence the testimony or information of the person to whom the bribe is given.

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.

[As used here, witness means someone [or a person the defendant reasonably believed to be someone]:

<Give the appropriate bracketed paragraph[s].> c [Who knows about the existence or nonexistence of facts relating to a crime(;/.)]


[Whose declaration under oath has been or may be received as evidence(;/.)]


[Who has reported a crime to a (peace officer[,]/ [or] prosecutor[,]/ [or] probation or parole officer[,]/ [or] correctional officer[,]/ [or] judicial officer)(;/.)]


Who has been served with a subpoena issued under the authority of any state or federal court.]]

[A person is about to be called as a witness (if he or she knows or has been told that he or she will be called as a witness [,]/ [or] if he or she knows material information relating to the issues in a case that has been or may be filed).]

[Information is material if it is significant or important.]

[(A/The) (district attorney[,]/ [or] deputy district attorney[,]/ [or] city attorney[,]/ [or] deputy city attorney[,]/ [or] Attorney General[,]/ [or]deputy attorney general[,]/ [or] <insert title of peace officer included in Pen. Code, § 830 et seq.>) is a law enforcement official.]

[The (witness/ [or] person giving information) does not need to (have accepted the bribe[,]/ have been influenced by the bribe[,]/ [or] have intended to give the (testimony/information) the defendant sought).]

[Offering a bribe does not require specific words or behavior, as long as the language used and the circumstances clearly show an intent to bribe. [The thing offered does not need to actually be given, exist at the time it is offered, or have a specific value.]]

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction defining the elements of the crime.

Give the bracketed sentence that begins with "The (witness/person giving information) does not need" if the evidence shows the witness did not accept the bribe or follow through on the bribe.

Give the bracketed definition of "offering a bribe" if the prosecution is pursuing this theory. Give the bracketed sentence that begins, "The thing offered does not need to actually," on request.


Elements. Pen. Code, § 137(a).

Witness Defined. Pen. Code, § 136(2).

Bribe Defined. Pen. Code, § 7, subd. 6.

Corruptly Defined. Pen. Code, § 7, subd. 3.

Law Enforcement Official Defined. Pen. Code, § 137(e).

About to Be Called as a Witness. People v. Broce (1977) 76 Cal.App.3d 71, 75-76 [142 Cal.Rptr. 628].

Meaning of Understanding or Agreement. People v. Pic'l (1982) 31 Cal.3d 731, 738-740 [183 Cal.Rptr. 685, 646 P.2d 847]; People v. Diedrich (1982) 31 Cal.3d 263, 273-274 [182 Cal.Rptr. 354, 643 P.2d 971]; People v. Gliksman (1978) 78 Cal.App.3d 343, 346-350 [144 Cal.Rptr. 451].

Intent Requirement. People v. Gliksman (1978) 78 Cal.App.3d 343, 346-350 [144 Cal.Rptr. 451].

Offering a Bribe. People v. Britton (1962) 205 Cal.App.2d 561, 564 [22 Cal.Rptr. 921].

Secondary Sources

2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Crimes Against Governmental Authority, §§ 32-55.

6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 141, Conspiracy, Solicitation, and Attempt, § 141.10 (Matthew Bender).

Related Issues

Extortion Distinguished

Extortion is bribery with the additional element of coercion. Accordingly, one cannot be guilty of receiving a bribe and extortion in the same transaction. (People v. Powell (1920) 50 Cal.App. 436, 441 [195 P. 456].)


A witness need not have information that is actually true or that relates to chargesthat result in conviction. (People v. Cribas (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 596, 610-611 [282 Cal.Rptr. 538].)

(New January 2006)