The definition of extortion is obtaining money or property by threat or intimidation even though it may not be represented by a clear or imminent physical danger to the victim. It is basically acquiring money or property by threat of physical violence or embarrassment to the victim, a friend or family member of the victim; a threat of damage to the victim’s property or threatening to damage a person’s reputation through various methods.
In the case of blackmail, the alleged guilty party would have something that the victim wouldn’t want made public and the target makes payments to stop the intimidator from doing so.
So what happens if you commit a crime due to being extorted? The answer is that it depends. There is a defense of duress, which can lessen your involvement. Also, if you cooperated with authorities and testified for the prosecutor, there is a chance you will be charged with lesser crimes in the first place. Finally, a jury is going to be sympathetic to someone who was clearly blackmailed. That being said, the anticipated victim must believe that the threat is reasonably real and the threat that the intimidation against them must be true. Some of the elements to prove are:
The threat must be of serious bodily harm or death.
The harm threatened must be greater than the harm that is caused by the crime.
The threat must be immediate and inescapable.
The defendant must have become involved in the situation through no fault of his or her own.
The jury may not be as sympathetic if you commit a crime because the criminal blackmailed you with some embarrassing photographs or other threats that may not be deemed as serious.
If you or someone you know was a victim of extortion, contact an experienced lawyer to help guide you through the legal process. The initial consultation is free and we will advise you on what the next steps are in fighting for your freedom.