Accused of Extortion? Learn How Our Hands-On Legal Team May Be Able To Help You

Extortion Defense Attorney in Orange County

California Extortion and Blackmail Law

California Penal Code 518 describes the act of extortion, as it relates to blackmail, as the involvement of any one of the following four types of threats:

  • Threat to injure a person or property
  • Threat to target an individual or his / her family with disgrace, harm, or crime
  • Threat to accuse the targeted individual or his / her family of a crime
  • Threat to reveal secret information which would affect the targeted individual or his / her family

​​​​​​The state's Penal Code further describes such acts as ones that use force or threats to compel the actions of another (specifically, to prompt another person to give over money or property); acts that use threats to force a public law enforcement officer to perform an unlawful act; and acts made by a public official who wishes to compel another person to hand over money or property by claiming that it is their official right to make this kind of demand.

Searching for an attorney for extortion in Orange County? The crime of extortion is commonly referred to as blackmail, and this is primarily because its definition hinges on the use of force or fear to accomplish the task of obtaining property.

Making Legal Threats

Gavel - California extortion law

Crimes of extortion / blackmail are particularly complex because they can involve making a threat that is actually legal. The threat only becomes one of blackmail when it is made in tangent with a caveat such as requiring another person to act in a certain way in order to avoid follow-through of the threats that were made. For example, the threat to inform police of suspicious activity is legal in and of itself; however, it becomes illegal if it is made in addition to a condition that requires the threatened person to give over a personal belonging of any sort.

California law denotes a difference between making a legal threat and committing blackmail / extortion. As such, it will be up to the prosecutor to prove that the actions that the defendant has been accused of are actually ones of extortion. To do this, the prosecuting attorney must be able to unequivocally prove all four of the elements that have been defined as components of an extortion offense: 1) the obtainment of another person's property; 2) the obtainment of property through consent; 3) the consent was derived through wrongful use of fear and / or threat; and, 4) the wrongful use of fear or force was intentionally used to convince another person to consent to handing over their property.

Defend Against the Potential Penalties for Extortion Crimes

Although extortion crimes are heavily prosecuted in court, this does not mean that a defense cannot be built on behalf of defendants who've been accused of the crime. In fact, there are many effective means of challenging the allegations of extortion that are made, and an experienced defense attorney can help you come up with the method that is best fit for your situation.

Extortion is most often charged as a felony, making defendants susceptible to a prison sentence of up to four years (with a minimum two-year sentence). Whether or not the actual attempt at extortion is completed, the defendant can be penalized almost equally as harshly, simply for their intent to blackmail another. This means that the $10,000 fine and potential jail time of a conviction for the follow-through of an act of extortion could be administered to the defendant whose attempts were not fully executed. According to law, proven intent is enough to elicit a conviction.

To ensure that you stand the best chance at escaping conviction for extortion, your attorney needs to build a defense that can effectively protect you in court. To do so, a closer examination of the behaviors which led to your arrest will need to be examined. A critical aspect to crimes of extortion is the consent behind such acts. Therefore, this is also a critical tool that can be used during your defense case. If your defense attorney can prove that consent was made based on a reason other than the use of force or threat, you could be able to dodge conviction.

Other lines of defense include claiming that false accusations resulted in the wrongful arrest of an innocent defendant. It is not uncommon for an angry or spiteful person to irrationally accuse another person of a crime that they did not commit. When this is the case, it will be up to your Orange County criminal defense attorney to declare your innocence and prove the reasoning behind it. Criminal defense lawyers can also stage a defense on insufficient evidence, stating that not enough evidence exists to unequivocally convict the defendants of the crime for which they've been accused.

Contact the Law Office of Frances Prizzia

Looking for a lawyer for extortion in Orange County? At the Law Office of Frances Prizzia, the aggressive defense you need to get the effective results you deserve will be delivered in spades. Here, we focus on the individual needs of our clients, which means that a completely unique line of defense will be established for each and every defendant that we represent in court. Whether you've been accused of extortion or another white collar criminal offense, we are here to help protect you from the penalties of an ultimate conviction.

Contact us today for more info about the methods of defense that can be utilized on your behalf.

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