It’s a crime of threat for gain, so when would you get charged with extortion in California? And what should you do if you are?
Defining the Crime of Extortion
California Penal Code 518 defines extortion as using force or fear to obtain property or anything else of value from another person, or getting a public officer to perform an official act through use of force or fear.
It’s a felony punishable by incarceration in jail or prison for up to four years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Extortion, also known as blackmail, is a crime where prosecutors must prove intent to use force or threats to coerce someone into giving them something or, in the case of extorting a public officer, doing something.
In order to return a guilty verdict on the charges of extortion, jurors are instructed that the prosecution must prove the following:
- The defendant threatened to unlawfully injure or use force against another person
- The defendant intended to use that threat to obtain that person’s consent to give the defendant something of value or to do an official act
- The other person consented — as a result of threats by the defendant — to give the defendant something of value or to do an official act
- As a result of the threat, the other person then actually gave the defendant the thing of value or actually did an official act.
Defending Against Charges of Extortion
If you’ve been charged with extortion, you need to obtain legal counsel right away. Some common legal defenses used to challenge extortion charges include showing that:
- The defendant did not use force or make threats
- The defendant was falsely accused
- The victim did not actually give the defendant the thing or perform the act they consented to under the alleged coercion
If You’ve Been Accused of Extortion
Extortion is a serious criminal charge … a felony. So, if you’re facing charges of extortion, it’s important to obtain legal counsel to help protect your rights and help you fight the charges.
Don’t just wait and hope for the best. Call (559) 691-6222 or use our convenient online form to Schedule a Consultation to get legal help today.
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