Defenses to Extortion Lawyers
What are Possible Defenses against an Accusation of Extortion?
Extortion is a crime, so all the defenses available for other crimes can be used. 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 intent to commit a crime - Like most crimes, extortion requires an intention to commit the crime. Sometimes people may misunderstand each other and construe something as a threat when it wasn't. Proving a misinterpretation between people may be enough to negate the intent required for extortion.
- 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 - Drugs and Alcohol -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.
How Likely Will any of These Defenses Work?
The best way to determine this is to consult an experienced attorney. 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: 07-22-2009 03:05 PM PDT
Did you find this article informative?