Extortion is a type of white collar theft crime which involves blackmailing another person to gain a material advantage. It is the practice of obtaining money, property, or services by force or intimidation to a victim, his property, or loved ones. Commonly tied to the inner workings of organized crime, it is a serious felony offense in Florida, which aggressively prosecutes the crime. If you face charges for extortion, there are things you should know about criminal extortion charges in West Palm Beach.
Proving Extortion in Florida
The prosecution must prove several facts of your case to show that extortion occurred. First, it is vital to prove the threat — whether you uttered the threat verbally or in writing. Blackmail letters or voicemail messages can be used as evidence to support this point. There must also be malicious intent to gain from such threats; thus, the prosecution must prove the accused planned to gain some material advantage by issuing the threats or coercing the victim to comply with his demands.
In addition, the prosecution must show that the victim believed the accused would carry out the threats; whether or not the accused could realistically carry out the threats is immaterial. It only matters that the victim believed the accused was capable of committing the acts threatened.
Extortion threats could include threats of violence toward the victim or the victim’s loved ones, threats of property damage, or could come in the form of blackmail threatening to reveal private information that is embarrassing, socially damaging, or incriminating. A person can be convicted of extortion even if it revealed the victim had broken the law in some way. The sooner you acquire legal help, the better your defense can be.
Extortion Penalties in West Palm Beach
Extortion is a second-degree felony offense in Florida for which you can face up to 15 years in prison or on probation, and fines of up to $10,000. Offenders with previous criminal convictions can face even longer terms in prison.
Allegations of extortion can hurt your reputation and affect your future even if you are never convicted for the crime. At The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, we are determined to preserving your rights at each step of the legal process. Attorney Brian Gabriel has over 30 years of experience defending white collar crimes like extortion in West Palm Beach and holds a strong reputation throughout South Florida. He will thoroughly investigate your case to create the defense you deserve for the best possible outcome. For a free consultation, call 561-622-5575 or reach out to us online.