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What is Extortion?

You have likely seen extortion feature prominently in thrilling movie plots, but it is far less entertaining when you are charged with having committed it. If you are facing extortion charges in Georgia, you are facing serious potential penalties, including jail time that can range from 12 months to 20 years. This is a particularly serious charge because it can result in both state or federal charges, and penalties at the federal level are serious. For this reason, it is critical to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after you are charged to avoid a conviction. Extortion charges are not ones to take a gamble on or to risk trying to represent yourself. You need experienced counsel dedicated to your case and advocating for your rights.

Understanding Extortion

What is extortion, exactly? Extortion is an attempt to get something of value by threatening harm with a corrupt or unlawful intent. The “something of value” can be money, property, or anything else that is desired by the extorting party and that holds value. The threat can be either a personal threat, such as threatening someone’s safety, or a threat of causing reputational harm. There are a few forms of extortion that you are likely familiar with, including blackmail, threats, and cyber extortion. Most cases of extortion fall under state law, but public officials who have received a bribe or used their office to obtain benefits from others through unlawful means can be charged under the Hobbs Act, which is a federal law, and carries much harsher penalties. It is important to understand that even an attempt to commit extortion constitutes extortion. This is true even if the attempt was unsuccessful and nothing of value was obtained. The severity of state charges will depend on whether the extortion is charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Threats that involve physical injury or death are often charged as felonies.

Defenses to Extortion

Just because you have been charged with extortion does not mean that you will be convicted. There are several defenses available. These defenses serve to rebut the necessary elements of the crime, so that the prosecution is unable to meet the necessary burden of proof. For instance, one defense would be that you did not actually threaten the other party, or that you lacked the necessary criminal intent to commit extortion, which is required to make a finding. If you did not intend to take something of value by threatening or causing harm to a person, you have not committed this crime. Of course, actual innocence is also a defense. The best defense in your case will depend on the specific circumstances of the crime alleged. An attorney can help you determine the best defense strategy for your specific case.

Schedule a Consultation with Ghanayem & Rayasam Law in Atlanta

If you are facing extortion charges in Georgia, you need experienced criminal defense counsel on your side to fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact the criminal defense lawyers at Ghanayem & Rayasam Law today to schedule a consultation. The sooner you call, the sooner we can start working for you.