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What Is Blackmail?
Blackmail is the act of making threats to someone that, unless they do as you demand, you will reveal private or embarrassing information about them. This information is usually very personal and might cause harm or humiliation to the person or to his family or loved ones.
The crime of extortion (also known as blackmail) consists the following:
- Using force, threats, intimidation to compel another to give you money or property.
- Using force, threats, or intimidation to compel a public official to perform an official duty.
- Threatening to expose a victim’s secret involving some kind of scandal, crime, or public disgrace.
Public officials and celebrities are often targets of extortion. For example, they may compelled to give money or property in order to save their reputation.
How Is Blackmail Different than Extortion?
Blackmail is often considered to be a form of extortion, although the two crimes are actually quite different. Unlike extortion, if you commit blackmail, the action that you are offering to refrain from taking is a legal one. In other words, other than the moral implications of what you are you doing, your exposure of the information at hand is not technically a crime. Blackmail, or using that information to threaten someone else, however, is a crime.
What Are the Consequences Of Blackmail?
Like extortion, blackmail is a felony, and the penalties may include the following:
- Heavy fines
What Should I Do If Someone Is Blackmailing Me?
If someone is threatening to reveal personal and private information about you, your family, or a loved one, you should inform the police immediately.
What Are Possible Defenses to Extortion or Blackmail?
If you are accused of blackmail, extortion, or any crime, you should contact a criminal law attorney immediately. He or she will be able to determine which defenses may be available to you and represent you in court if needed.
Possible defenses to extortion may include:
- You were falsely accused
- You never made any types of threats or did not coerce the victim into giving you money or property
- There is no evidence to support the accusation to result in a conviction
What Should I Do If I Am Accused of Extortion or Blackmail?If you are accused of blackmail, extortion, or any crime, you should contact a criminal law attorney immediately. Your attorney will be able to determine which defenses may be available to you and represent you in court if needed.
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Last Modified: 08-08-2014 02:11 PM PDT
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