REDWOOD CITY -- A Palo Alto patent attorney was sentenced Thursday to eight months in jail for trying to bribe a police officer who pulled him over while he was driving under the influence.
A San Mateo County Superior Court judge also ordered Richard Chae, 39, to pay $2,331 in fines and serve three years of probation, said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. The judge revoked Chae's driver's license for three years.
"We were able to get him the justice he deserved," Wagstaffe said. "He will spend New Year's Eve doing his eight months."
Chae was pulled over at 2:40 a.m. on Feb. 26, 2010, in Colma. He registered 0.13 on a blood-alcohol test, above the legal limit of 0.08, according to police. The officer claimed Chae offered bribes of $900, then $5,000 and finally $35,000 in return for letting him go.
A jury found Chae guilty in 2011 of two misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence but hung on the felony bribery allegation. The DA's office retried the bribery charge and secured a conviction in June.
Chae has denied offering bribes, claiming the officer misunderstood him, Wagstaffe said. Chae's attorney, Paul Demeester, did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.
Wagstaffe said Chae has been convicted of three DUIs in the past decade. On the night he was arrested in 2010, officers determined he was carrying $1,055 in cash and $135 in chips from Lucky Chances Casino, a Colma card room.
The State Bar in October suspended Chae's license to practice law based upon the bribery conviction, which the bar deemed an act of moral turpitude.
Chae will serve just four months of his sentence if he exhibits good behavior in jail, Wagstaffe said.
Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357. Follow him at Twitter.com/kinneytimes.