California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a law that will make “sextortion” a crime in California. The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2018, amends existing extortion law under California Penal Code Section 518 to make it a crime to use the threat of releasing private sexually explicit images as blackmail to demand the payment of money, performance of sexual acts or more sexually images.
Why Did California Make Sextortion a Crime?
Under California Penal Code Section 518, extortion is defined as “the obtaining of property or other consideration from another, with his or her consent, or the obtaining of an official act of a public officer, induced by wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right.”
The word in this law that confuses some is “consideration.” Generally, this word refers to property or money, so extortion is the crime of obtaining money or property by threatening the person who possesses the money or property.
However, “sextortion” involving explicit photos of the victim or performance of sexual acts did not meet the elements of this crime. Sextortion is when you obtain sexually explicit images of someone and threaten to post the images online or send them to others unless the person in the images provides payment or anything else of value.
The Crime of Sextortion in California
The updated law signed by Gov. Brown makes extortion involving sexual conduct as defined in Penal Code Section 311.3 a crime.
The list of prohibited acts under the “sextortion” law includes the following:
- Sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex or between humans and animals
- Penetration of the vagina or rectum by any object
- Masturbation for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer
- Sadomasochistic abuse for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer
- Exhibition of the genitals or the pubic or rectal area of any person for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer
- Defecation or urination for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer.
Penalties for Sextortion
This new law is an amendment to current law, so you face the same penalties for sextortion that you would for extortion.
Any person who is convicted of this crime is guilty of a felony that carries two, three or four years in county jail.
In addition, an unsuccessful attempt at sextortion is also a crime under Penal Code Section 524. Attempted extortion is a wobbler offense. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you face up to 364 days in county jail. Felony attempted extortion is punishable by up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Contact the Sextortion Defense Lawyers at Wallin & Klarich Today
A charge of sextortion is a serious accusation that could have severe consequences. If you are facing this charge, you should retain the services of an experienced and skilled defense attorney as soon as possible.
At Wallin & Klarich, we have over 35 years of experience defending people accused of extortion. We use all of our legal knowledge and skill to help achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.