(a) A person who is a witness to an event or occurrence that he or she knows, or reasonably should know, is a crime or who has personal knowledge of facts that he or she knows, or reasonably should know, may require that person to be called as a witness in a criminal prosecution shall not accept or receive, directly or indirectly, any payment or benefit in consideration for providing information obtained as a result of witnessing the event or occurrence or having personal knowledge of the facts.
(b) A violation of this section is a misdemeanor and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not exceeding six months, by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.
(c) Upon conviction under this section, in addition to the penalty described in subdivision (b), any compensation received in violation of this section shall be forfeited by the defendant and deposited in the Victim Restitution Fund.
(d) This section shall not apply if more than one year has elapsed from the date of any criminal act related to the information that is provided under subdivision (a) unless prosecution has commenced for that criminal act. If prosecution has commenced, this section shall remain applicable until the final judgment in the action.
(e) This section shall not apply to any of the following circumstances:
(1) Lawful compensation paid to expert witnesses, investigators, employees, or agents by a prosecutor, law enforcement agency, or an attorney employed to represent a person in a criminal matter.
(2) Lawful compensation provided to an informant by a prosecutor or law enforcement agency.
(3) Compensation paid to a publisher, editor, reporter, writer, or other person connected with or employed by a newspaper, magazine, or other publication or a television or radio news reporter or other person connected with a television or radio station, for disclosing information obtained in the ordinary course of business.
(4) Statutorily authorized rewards offered by governmental agencies for information leading to the arrest and conviction of specified offenders.
(5) Lawful compensation provided to a witness participating in the Witness Protection Program established pursuant to Title 7.5 (commencing with Section 14020) of Part 4.
(f) For purposes of this section, “information” does not include a photograph, videotape, audiotape, or any other direct recording of events or occurrences.
(Amended (as amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 210, Sec. 1) by Stats. 2003, Ch. 62, Sec. 222. Effective January 1, 2004. See similar subject matter in Section 132.5, as amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 303. Note: Originally, this section was added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 869.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018