The common term for extortion is blackmail. Either way, the official word is extortion. The definitions and penalties for this crime are defined in California Penal Code Sections 518 to 527 PC.
Definition of Extortion and elements of the offense:
In order for the prosecutor to be ale to convict you of a Los Angeles extortion then one of the following fact patterns must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
- There was a threat of force or the actual use of force to get another person to give you money or property of some value, or
- there was some use of force or threat of force to compel any public officer to either perform or fail to perform an official act, or
- for any public official to demand another person to give the official money or property of some value under color of authority.
The penalty for an extortion crime is very significant because it is seen as one of the most serious of all theft crimes. It is usually charged as a felony and the punishment includes a fine of up to $10,000 and a maximum sentence of four years in State Prison.
Even though the crime is serious and the penalties are so significant, there are many defenses to these charges. If you have been arrested or charged with the white collar crime of extortion in Los Angeles, then contact the Los Angeles Extortion Defense Attorney Michael Kraut. Mr. Kraut used to be a white collar crimes prosecutor and knows what evidence they will need to convict you. Because of this inside knowledge of the system, Mr. Kraut is able to attack the evidence against you. Mr. Kraut was educated at Harvard Law School and is a 100% success rate in white collar jury trials. The meeting is free and confidential. Call (323) 464–6453 to meet with Mr. Kraut.
The type of force or fear necessary for Extortion under California Penal Code 518 PC
Because the crime of extortion can not be committed with some sort of force or fear, the prosecution will need to show this element in order for you to be convicted. The force or fear is usually considered as some sort of threat.
Types of threats:
- threat to harm another person by physical harm or harm to reputation,
- threat to accuse another person of a crime
- threat to tell someone that the person was associated with a crime
- threat to not do something that the person is obligated to do as a matter of law.
It is important to know that the threat need not be to do an illegal act. In many cases, the threat could be something legal. For example, if you threaten someone that you will turn them into the police, that is not a crime. But, if you threaten to not tell the police unless the other person gives you money, then a Los Angeles extortion crime has occurred.
If you use a computer, a telephone or commit this offense on Federal property such as a post office or a Federal courthouse then this crime can be prosecuted in Federal Court by the United States Attorney’s Office or in State Court by the District Attorney’s Office.
The Prosecutor Prove The Following Occurred In Order To Prove An Extortion under Penal Code 518 PC
The prosecutor must prove that you did the following to convict you of this charge:
- You received property, money or a service in the form of an official act, from another person,
- The person giving you the property, money or act did so with their consent, and,
- The consent was only given as a result of you creating some sort of force or fear, and lastly,
- when you used the force or fear you did so with the specific intent to make the person give you consent to take the money or property.
Defenses to California Extortion
There are many defenses to the crime of extortion. If any of the elements have not been met, then the prosecutor cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt and you cannot be convicted. If you can show that the money or property would have been given to you even of there was not force or fear then you cannot be convicted of the crime.
If the property or money was given to you, but there was not force or fear, then you cannot be convicted of extortion.
If you did not have the specific intent, or the prosecutor cannot prove this element, you cannot be convicted of an extortion crime.