Defenses to Extortion Lawyers
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What Are Possible Defenses Against Extortion?
Extortion, also known as “blackmail”, is the crime of obtaining money or property through coercion. Extortion can take a variety of forms. Common examples include:
- A criminal threatens to expose extramarital affair unless the victim pays the criminal $100,000.
- A computer hacker uses a computer virus to gain control of the victim’s computer files and threatens to delete the files unless the victim pays $100,000.
If you are convicted of extortion, you can face prison-time and/or fines.
Common defenses include:
- Insufficient Evidence: In general, threatening harm needs to be a wrongful use of violence or fear. The victim also needs to reasonably believe the threat is real. If you can prove one of these two things is lacking, then an extortion charge can be dismissed for lack of evidence. For example, someone saying, "you must pay me $200" may not be extortion if you can show the victim's fear of this "threat" is unreasonable.
- Absence of Coercion: You did not coerce the alleged victim into giving you money or property.
- Insanity: Insanity is always a possible defense, but it is a tough sell in any court for any crime. You can claim you were either insane at the time of the offense or during trial. If you are found insane during either of these times, you will be committed to a mental hospital. However, once you become "normal," you may be put in prison to serve your sentence.
- Incapacity: There are a few types of incapacity. Mental incapacity deals with insanity. Age is considered a legal incapacity, since minors may not be "capable" of intending to commit certain crimes. For example, a 7 year old "bully" threatens his classmates for their lunch money. Technically this is extortion, but very few courts would charge a 7 year old for extortion.
- Intoxication: Voluntary ingestion of drugs or alcohol is almost never a defense to a crime since you should know the risks of doing so. However, it is a possible defense to extortion. Since the victim’s fear of harm must be reasonable, an extremely drunk person's threats maybe shouldn't be considered a real threat. This is only a possible defense, and far from being a strong one.
Seeking Legal Help
Whether one of the above defenses will apply will depend on you the circumstances of your case. An experienced criminal law attorney will be able to analyze your situation and determine the best defenses to pursue.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 04-29-2014 04:45 PM PDT
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