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Extortion

If you or a loved one has been charged with or are being investigated for extortion, you should immediately contact Orange County extortion attorney William Weinberg. In California, the crime of extortion involves the use of force or fear to convince another person or a public official to act in a certain way, refrain from acting, or to hand over some form of property or consideration. Extortion is a serious felony offense that carries a maximum penalty of four (4) years in California State Prison.

For the prosecution to convict an individual of extortion, it must prove the following elements:

  • The use of force or fear
  • To compel another individual
  • To give up property or other consideration, and
  • The individual consented to the defendant's demands.
Or
  • The use of force of fear
  • To compel a public official
  • To act or refrain from acting on an official act, and
  • The public official consented to the defendant's demands
Use of Force, Fear, or Threat

Courts have interpreted the use of force, fear, or threat to include the following:

  • Threatening to hurt someone
  • Threatening to hurt someone other than the victim
  • Threatening to expose a person's criminal conduct
  • Threatening to expose a person's immigration status
  • Threatening to accuse someone of committing a crime they did not commit.
  • Threatening to expose your victim's secret
  • Threatening to accuse someone of something offensive
Intent in Extortion Cases

To convict an individual of extortion, the prosecution must show that the person intended to use fear or threats to compel an individual to perform an official act, give up property, or perform a sexual act.

The Consent of the Victim

To convict an individual of extortion, the prosecution must also show that the defendant's threat or use of force caused the victim to consent to give up property, perform an official act, or perform a sexual act.

Attempted Extortion

Even if your victim does not consent to your extortion, refuses to comply with your request, or does not hand over property, the prosecution can still convict you of attempted extortion. 

To prove attempted extortion, the prosecution need only show that you attempted to extort property or have a public official perform an act to convict you. They need not show that they consented or performed the requested act. So, to ensure that your rights are best defended, please contact Orange County extortion lawyer William Weinberg.

Examples of Extortion

If a person commits burglary by entering into a person's home and demands that the homeowner hand over his money and jewelry or else he will hurt them, the person can be charged with and convicted of not only burglary but also extortion.

Another example of extortion is someone who is being charged with a crime, threatens the judge presiding over his case with exposing his affair if he does not dismiss the case. The person can be charged with and convicted of extortion for using the fear a judge had to influence the judge's action in the case.

A third example of extortion is a daughter that's using drugs, and she threatens her dad by telling him that she will tell the authorities that he molested her (even though he didn't) if he does not give her money to buy drugs. In this example, the daughter can be charged with and convicted of extortion for using fear to get her father to give her money.

If you find you're being charged with extortion under California Penal Code §518, you should immediately contact Orange County extortion attorney William Weinberg. Mr. Weinberg is experienced in defending individuals who have been charged with extortion. At your initial consultation, you and Mr. Weinberg will discuss the best defense strategy for your case.

Punishment For Extortion

In California, extortion is a felony offense that carries a two (2), three (3), or four (4) years prison sentence. The offense also carries a fine of up to $10,000. Judges have the discretion of placing an individual on felony probation to allow him to serve part or fall of his sentence outside of prison. If the individual violates his probation, the judge has the authority to revoke it and send the person back to prison.

That said, there are some aggravating factors that can increase the time a person spends in prison. The following are some aggravating factors:

  • Extortion from an elderly person
  • Extortion of a mentally ill person
  • Extortion that's related to gang activity
  • Extortion by letter
  • Extortion of signature
  • Attempted extortion
Related Offenses

Here are some offenses that are related to extortion:

  • Kidnapping
  • Bribery
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
Defenses to Extortion

The best defense that Orange County extortion lawyer William Weinberg can make to defend your extortion charge is to argue that you did not threaten the victim or use fear to make the victim give you their property or perform a favor. The basis of extortion is using fear or threatening someone to handover property, so showing that no threats were made and fear was not used defeats the prosecution's case. If the facts of your case support it, Mr. Weinberg will argue that you did not make any threats, nor did you use fear to convince the victim to do anything.

A second defense that Mr. Weinberg can make is that the accusations against you are simply false. For example, if you're being accused of extorting money from an individual by threatening to publicize his extra-marital affair, your attorney may be able to argue that you had nothing to do with it and that the accusations against you are false. If the facts of your case support it, you may have the charges against you dropped, or the prosecution may offer you a favorable plea deal.

A third defense that Mr. Weinberg may be able to make is that you were intoxicated at the time you made the incriminating statements. Intoxication is a defense because a person who is intoxicated is unable to formulate the intent required for the prosecution to convict the individual of extortion. 

Contact an Attorney

Again, if you or a loved one is being charged with or investigated for extortion, please immediately contact Orange County extortion attorney William Weinberg at (949) 474-8008 or email him at bill@williamweinberg.com

Client Reviews
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He was open, honest and compassionate (qualities you don't always find in an attorney) and his credentials proved that he is more than qualified to handle this complicated case. JoAnn H.
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Not only did [my case] get resolved with great efficiency, [Mr. Weinberg and his team] were very open with me and kept the lines of communication flowing which I appreciated greatly. Ryan T.
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There are many things about our conversations that told me that bill was an honest guy and knew what he was talking about. Amy C.