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What Is Important To Know About Extortion

When someone obtains money or property by using threats to a person or a person’s loved ones, as well as using intimidation or making false claims of having the right to a person’s money or property, it is known as extortion. It could involve threats of property damage, threats of violence as well as threats of harming an individual’s reputation. It is not the same as larceny. The threats associated with extortion do not pose an imminent danger to the designated victim. These threats can be communicated in person or with any type of wireless communication such as text, email or telephone. Should this happen as part of interstate commerce, it can be considered a federal crime.

Degrees
In the state of New York, coercion/extortion in the second-degree is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. It can be increased to first degree when an individual has committed second-degree extortion and then causes fear of physical injury to a victim or threatens to damage to their property. This can also happen if a person compels or induces another person to attempt to commit or actually commit a felony. A person arrested for first-degree extortion will be charged with a class D felony.

Money Or Property Value
Under Article 155 of the New York Penal Code, the value of the money or tangible property taken as a result of extortion can ultimately determine how an individual will be charged at their arraignment. If an individual obtained cash or property with a value in excess of $9,000, they may be charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree. This is a class D felony.

Police Officers And Public Officials
Should a person be in the position of a public official or law enforcement officer, use or abuse their position to extort money or property from someone, it is a felony. This is classified as a C felony offense of Grand Larceny. Public officials and law enforcement officers found guilty of this charge could spend up to 15 years in prison. These individuals could be accused of demanding a fee not permitted by law, a fee larger than what is required by law, paying a fee long before it is due or taking a fee for services that are never performed. A law enforcement officer, as well as a public official, must demand such fees as part of their official position for it to be considered extortion.

Punishment
Individuals in New York, who are convicted of first-degree extortion, could be sentenced up to seven years in prison. A court may also impose a fine of more than $5,000. They could also be given a fine of double the amount of their gain resulting from the extortion. When being convicted of second-degree extortion, a person could be sentenced up to twelve months in prison. They could also be given a fine up to $1,000. Individuals can also be sentenced to jail time as well as given a fine.

Extortion Defense
It takes legal knowledge and experience to successfully defend against a charge of extortion. Successful defenses include such things as lack of intent. This will show a defendant did not intend to threaten or coerce the victim into giving money or property. There is the lack of a threat. This is successful when it’s proven the alleged victim gave money or property to the defendant willingly. This requires proving it did not happen because of any type of force. Insufficient evidence, as well as false accusations, are also valid defenses. This works when there isn’t a sufficient amount of evidence to convict a defendant of a crime. It’s also possible to prove a defendant was falsely accused and was never involved with what happened.

Legal Help
It’s important to understand that being charged with extortion is very serious. An experienced and knowledgeable legal professional will know how to handle the situation and obtain the best possible result.

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