Blackmailing someone may not seem like a very big deal. However, depending on the circumstances of the situation and the state — this action could be viewed as extortion. In many states, the crime of extortion is a felony that comes along with some weighted consequences. Taking this matter seriously is a must.
Yes, extortion is a serious crime, but it is worth noting that the threat of extortion or blackmail is not the same and does not always meet the threshold of charges. Typically, for a charge to happen, an exchange must be made. More specifically, the person making the threats must make a demand for or receive money, goods, or services in exchange for withholding the information.
All cases of extortion are not the same, as the intention of every person engaging in this practice is different. As outlandish as it might sound, some people commit extortion in an effort to protect someone else. There are also those people who commit the act with the sole intention of getting something from someone else. The court will generally weigh the intentions of the person to determine whether to move forward with charges.
Crimes of extortion do follow a value scale, and where a case rests on this scale will have a significant effect. For instance, in an extortion case where the cash exchange was $100, its placement on the scale is much lower than a scenario that involves a $100,000 exchange. As you might imagine, the greater the value of the crime, the more significant the charges, and in many instances, the more likely the person is to be charged with a felony.
Prison as a Sentence
The most important thing to remember about an extortion conviction is that it can lead to a prison sentence. While the past criminal history of the convicted will be taken into account, a judge will generally also consider the amount of money involved in the extortion and the intention of the individual. However, who the victim of the crime is may also have an impact. If the victim is elderly or disabled, the possibility of prison is very real.
If you have been charged with this crime, or anything else for that matter, speaking with an attorney is an excellent way to protect yourself. A criminal law attorney will review the specifics of your case and work diligently to help you reach the best possible outcome.