Hollywood movies often portray extortion by showing organized crime members threatening local business owners to pay “protection” money or face some sort of harm. While there is some truth to this portrayal, extortion is an offense that anyone can commit. Extortion is commonly referred to as blackmail. If you face extortion charges, the harsh consequences you potentially face demand that you retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights.
Prosecution of Extortion Charges
To convict you of extortion, the prosecutor must prove the following four elements:
1. You threatened to do any of the following to the victim:
- Injure or use force against the victim, a 3rd party, or the victim’s property
- Accuse the victim or a relative or family member of a crime; OR
- Expose a secret involving the victim or a family member, or connect any of them to some kind of crime, disgrace, or scandal
2. Upon making the threat or using force, you intended to force the victim into consenting to give you money or property or to perform an official act
3. As a result of the threat or force, the victim actually consented to give you the money or property or performed the requested official act; AND
4. The victim actually gave you the money or property or performed the requested official act
Punishment for Extortion Conviction
Generally, extortion is a felony under California law. If convicted, you face up to 4 years in county jail, a fine of up to $10,000, or both fine and imprisonment.
Extortion can also qualify as a “strike” under PC 186.22 if you commit the extortion for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a criminal street gang with the specific intent to promote or assist the gang’s criminal activities.
If you had the required intent to be convicted of extortion, but you did not complete the act of extortion, you could be convicted of attempted extortion. For example, if you threatened the victim into giving you money intending to force him into consenting to give you such money and the victim consents, but the victim did not actually give you any money, you cannot be convicted of extortion, but you could be convicted of attempted extortion.
Attempted extortion is a wobbler meaning that it can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. If convicted of misdemeanor attempted extortion, you face up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both a fine and imprisonment. If convicted of felony attempted extortion, you face up to 3 years in state prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both fine and imprisonment.
Extortion Defense Attorney in California
The law firm of Wallin & Klarich has been successfully defending clients facing extortion charges for over 30 years. Our experience has given us the skill and knowledge to provide you with the most effective defense for your extortion charge.
We will aggressively defend you from the moment you retain our law firm to help you avoid jail and other serious consequences. We will review all of the evidence in your case to help you create an effective defense strategy.
Extortion charges can have severe and long-lasting consequences for you and your family. If you are being accused of extortion, you need the experienced extortion defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich to help you fight for your freedom. Our offices are located in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina, Victorville, Torrance, and Sherman Oaks. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245. We will be there when you call.