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Extortion Defense Lawyers in Los Angeles, CA
It should first be stated that extortion is a felony, and is punishable by imprisonment. Law Advocate Group, LLP has a team of well-educated and experienced Extortion Defense Lawyers to provide its clients with the very best in criminal defense.
Extortion is the obtaining of property from another with his or her consent, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear or under color of official right.Law Advocate Group, located in Beverly Hills, has over 80 years of combined legal experience in representing clients throughout Beverly Hills and Los Angeles. Extortion defense cases are a specialty of the firm, combining the knowledge and experience of the team to give provide clients with top extortion defense lawyers Los Angeles residents can rely on if they should face these types of criminal charges.
Extortion Defense Key Points
The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
- There was a threat of force or the actual use of force to extort money or property of some value to another, 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.
Extortion of Property | White-collar Crime Laws in Los Angeles, CA
Extortion of Property in order to constitute the crime of extortion, the extortionist must obtain property or the right to acquire property from the victim. If the action or acquiescence demanded does not amount to a property interest, no crime has taken place. A thief’s possessory interest in stolen property is a property right for the purposes of extortion. A chose in action is also property within the meaning of the extortion statutes. The right to prosecute a lawsuit or an appeal, whether in a court of law or an administrative agency, is a property right. Obtaining an official act of a public officer can be the basis of extortion, and is apparently considered property for this purpose.The actual obtaining of property is not necessary in every situation. A person who makes an extortionate demand in writing is guilty of the crime even if the victim parts with no property, and even if the threat produced no actual fear in the mind of the victim. Furthermore, any person who, by extortionate means, obtains a victim’s signature to any document which, if freely given, would create a property right, is guilty of extortion even if the property right is never actually exercised or obtained. If the document signed by the victim does not purport to create a property right, no extortion has occurred. If it is shown that the defendant obtained a document creating a property right by extortionate means, the prosecution need not prove that he or she actually intended to exercise that right.Demanding that the victim reveal the victim’s PIN code for the victim’s ATM card constitutes obtaining property for purposes of extortion.
The claim-of-right defense does not apply to the crime of extortion.
Extortion by ThreatsIn order to be criminal, the extortionate threat must be the operating or controlling cause which produces the victim’s action. If some other cause were the primary and controlling one in inducing the action, there would be no extortion. A threat need not be an explicit one, and need not be cognizable as a threat except within the context of the situation or to the person to whom the threat is directed.Fear may be induced by a threat to injure a person or property, to accuse the victim or any member of his or her family of any crime, to expose or to impute to the victim any deformity, disgrace, or crime, or to expose any secret which may have an adverse effect on the victim.
The wrongful use of force or fear must have been done in one of the following ways:
- Threat to do an unlawful injury. The injury threatened must be, in itself, unlawful, irrespective of good faith or the defendant’s right to possession of the property demanded. An unlawful injury is defined as one, if it had been committed as threatened, which would have constituted an actionable wrong for which damages would be recoverable, or which could be enjoined if the legal remedy were inadequate. If the injury threatened is one which the defendant had an absolute legal right to do (except to correctly accuse the victim of having committed a crime), he or she cannot be held to have threatened to do an unlawful injury.
- Threat to accuse of a crime. The threat to accuse an individual, or his or her relative or family member, of a crime, can constitute extortion, as can threatening to have criminal charges pursued or continue to be pursued, even if the defendant has already reported the subject to the police and even if the person receiving the threat knows of that. It is immaterial that the victim is actually guilty of the crime threatened to be revealed, or that the extortionist is actually entitled to the property demanded. The extortionists good-faith belief in a right to the property demanded is no defense.
- Threat to expose or to impute to the victim any deformity, disgrace, or crime. This is a broad category, perhaps intended to be used as a catch-all for situations in which the other categories of threats are not applicable. There have been convictions under this statute, although there are no cases which attempt to define what types of threats might be included within this definition.
- Threat to expose the victim’s secret. The secret must be unknown to the general public, or to some particular part of it who might be interested in obtaining knowledge of the secret. The secret must concern some matter of fact, not an opinion, and must affect the threatened person in some way so far unfavorable to the reputation or to some other interest that exposure would be likely to induce him or her through fear to pay money or property in order to avoid the exposure. It is irrelevant, however, whether the threatened exposure is true or false, or that the person to whom exposure is threatened already knows the secret.
Attempted extortion is not committed by a threat to extort money from another person’s engaging in prostitution, if the other person states he or she is not currently engaged in prostitution and the defendant changes the threat to be that of extorting money from the other person if the other person thereafter resumes engaging in prostitution.
Color of Official Right
Extortion under color of official right occurs when a public official obtains money or property that is either not due to him or her, is more than is due to him or her, or before it is due, for an act done within the scope of the office. This type of extortion resembles bribery of a public official. However, extortion requires coercion against the victim, whereas bribery is a mutual agreement entered into by both parties.
What is Punishment for Extortion? Why do I need Extortion Defense Lawyers?
Extortion is a felony, and is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to Penal Code Section 1170(h) (see Ch. 91, “Sentencing,” § 91.03) for two, three, or four years. Attempted extortion can be either a felony, punishable by 16 months, or two or three years in prison, or a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail. The court may impose a fine of up to $10,000 either instead of or in addition to the prison term imposed. If you suspect you are being investigated for crimes of extortion, we recommend that you speak with a criminal defense attorney who is competent in white-collar crime laws.