How Can You Defend Yourself Against Extortion Charges?

Oct 14 2021

Extortion, whether it is monetary, electronic or cyber extortion, happens all the time. While extortion is a felony in all 50 states, it can also be tried as a federal crime if it is executed via wireless communication including texts and emails, or it illegally impacts interstate commerce in any way. This makes extortion a very serious crime at the state and federal level.

Basically, extortion is defined as the wrongful obtaining of property or money through verbal or written threats. Penalties for this form of white-collar crime may include fines, jail term and property forfeiture. If you are charged with extortion, it is important that you figure out how to defend yourself in court.

Here are some of the ways you can defend yourself when charged with extortion.

Factual innocence

For there to be extortion, there must be a threat to cause harm or expose damaging information. Thus, if no threat was issued, or if the plaintiff unreasonably interpreted a benign remark as a threat, the defendant may argue that their alleged conduction did not meet the elements of the crime in question.

Lack of evidence

An extortion charge can be dismissed if there is inadequate evidence to support a claim that the crime did happen. Challenges to the manner in which the prosecution gathered evidence, such as seizure, wrongful search and interrogation claims, can limit the amount of evidence tabled against you during the trial.

Incapacity, insanity or intoxication

These arguments relate to the accused person’s mental state at the time of the said crime. These conditions may prevent a conviction if they negate the requisite “state of mind” for extortion. Additionally, these conditions may affect whether it was reasonable for the plaintiff to believe the threat to cause harm was valid.

Extortion is a serious felony whose conviction carries significant penalties. Even a failed attempt at extortion can result in fines, jail time and a criminal record. Whether you are under investigation or have already been charged, it is important that you know how to argue yourself out of trouble.

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