Extortion is a serious crime that creates a significant impact on the victim. What is extortion, anyway?
In Georgia, extortion is considered a theft crime, known as theft by extortion. Extortion occurs when one person unlawfully obtains another’s property through oral threats, written threats, intimidation, or false claims. This is a serious offense in Georgia and those convicted could face several years in prison. For this reason, facing extortion charges is scary. Those charged with the crime should know that there are defenses available, and an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer can fully explain what those are.
What is Considered Extortion in Georgia?
In Georgia, a person can be found guilty of extortion if he or she illegally obtain someone else’s property by threatening to:
Accuse the other person of a crime
Commit an additional crime against the alleged victim
Distribute personal information pertaining to the alleged victim that will cause them embarrassment or ridicule
Inflict bodily harm on them
Take or withhold action as a public official, or cause a public official to take or withhold action
Cause a strike or boycott if the property the accused wishes to obtain will not benefit the whole group
Refuse to testify about important information that is helpful to another person’s legal case or defense
Taking any of these actions has serious consequences in Georgia. The penalty for extortion is between one and 10 years in state prison. For those accused, it is important to work with a criminal defense attorney who knows the defenses to this crime.
Additionally, Georgia lawmakers are also looking to tighten up the law on extortion. A measure to include ‘sextortion’ in the legal statutes passed through both the judiciary and the house in April of 2019. If made into law, it would be illegal to use someone’s picture or likeness to extort money or property from them.
Defenses to Extortion
Affirmative defenses are often useful in extortion cases. This is admitting that the property or money was taken but denying the fact that a crime took place. For example, if the money obtained through the alleged offense was actually compensation for a personal injury or for services rendered, there is no crime.
Other defenses include common strategies used in other criminal cases, as well. The prosecution and law enforcement may have simply made a mistake and accused the wrong person. Or, the prosecution may not have enough evidence to bring a successful case forward. In this instance, the case would be dismissed. These are just a few of the defenses available in extortion cases, and an attorney can determine which one is right for a specific case.
Facing Extortion Charges? Call Our Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you have been charged with extortion, you are likely confused, frustrated, and perhaps even angry. At Ghanayem & Rayasam, we understand and we want to help. Our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys have the experience necessary to build you a solid case and give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us today at (404) 561-0202 or contact us online so we can start reviewing your case, and you can get the help you need.