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Extortion Law in California

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2020 | Criminal Defense, Theft Crimes

What is Extortion?

Extortion or also known as Blackmailing, is an act of obtaining money, property or anything else unlawfully from others by the use of force, threat, fear and by coercion. Such acts can be done physically, oral, or even written threats. Extortion is a serious crime and comes along with strict punishments. It is not only a criminal act it is also a tort which may be addressed directly with or without the intervention of law enforcement institutions.

Extortion Laws in California

Under California Penal Code Section 518, extortion, or usually referred to as “blackmail” is a criminal offense that implies the use of threats or force to oblige another person into providing money or property. Also, can be used to make a public officer to perform or neglect an official act or duty. The main cases are:

  • The utilization of power or threats to force someone else to give cash or any kind of property,
  • The utilization of power or threats to force a public servant to perform a specific work 
  • The act in which a public servant and, under his/her official capacity, compels to any person to give money or property

There are also over 30 other penal codes in California statute related to extortion charges such as California Penal Code 523 PC which defines extortion by a threatening letter and California Penal Code 522 PC defines extortion by signature, as well as attempted extortion.

Related Offenses

  • White Collar Crimes
  • Robbery – California Penal Code 211 PC
  • Bribery – California Penal Code Section 67 PC
  • Grand Theft – California Penal Code Section 487 PC

Penalties of Extortion in California

Extortion is a felony under California law that is punishable by a fine and/or jail sentence as follows:

If the accusation of this crime is based in terms of extortion by threatening letter or in terms of extortion by signature, money or property; a sentence of two, three or four years in a state jail and up to $10,000 as a fine can be faced.

If the felony is  convicted under the attempt to extort someone then he/she can be facing as long as one year in a state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

In the case of a senior citizen or a person with mental disability is extorted, the conviction to the alleged extortionist will be an additional punishment  according to the nature of crime under California Penal Code Section 525

Common Defenses

If you have been charged with extortion in California State there are a number of common defenses for this crime that could apply in your case such as:

  • False accusation
  • No proof of coercion
  • Lack of intent or threat
  • Insufficient evidence
  • No intent
  • Improper Investigation
  • Lack of Evidence
  • No Cause of Action

California Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

California extortion laws are very critical in nature and have very serious penalties. So, if you or someone close to you have been charged with extortion in California State the Law Office of Raoul Severo is at your service and, with more than 40 years of experience an assessment of your case can be provided free of charge.