Blackmail

Los Angeles Blackmail Defense Attorney

Criminal Defense Lawyers Defending Clients in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties in California Charged with Blackmail or Extortion

Another name for extortion, blackmail is simply the act of demanding something (usually money) in return for keeping injurious, damaging, or embarrassing information private. This information may be in regards to an individual, or his/her family. At The Justice Firm, our Los Angeles blackmail defense lawyers have the skill, experience, and dedicated approach to protect our clients against a wrongful conviction and the serious criminal penalties which may result.

When someone threatens or is accused of threatening to obtain property or money from another individual in exchange for keeping certain information private, that person may face charges of blackmail, either at the state or federal level. It is important that you obtain the legal guidance and support of a capable lawyer who will work vigorously to defend you against charges of blackmail or extortion.

Definition of Extortion in California

California's Penal Code 518 describes extortion or blackmail as oral or written threats of future harm used in order to obtain property or money from someone else. These threats may include:

  • Threats against an individual or family to expose a secret
  • Threats against an individual to expose information which may be embarrassing or harmful
  • Threats against an individual or family to accuse that person or his/her family of a crime
  • Threats against an individual or third party to inflict harm to property, or bodily harm against the victim

A common form of blackmail involves the perpetrator demanding money or property from a spouse in exchange for keeping quiet regarding a sexual affair with another man or woman. However, matters involving extortion can be far more serious and complex, and involve business owners, public officials, and more.

Blackmail and Related Crimes

Many people confuse the crime of blackmail or extortion with corruption, bribery, or even robbery. The primary difference between blackmail and robbery is that robbery has the element of a present threat of violence, while blackmail involves the threat of violence in the future if the victim does not carry through with the blackmailer's demands. All of these criminal offenses are similar, but with subtle differences.

Penalties and Sentencing for Blackmail

Whether you refer to it as blackmail or extortion, the consequences of a conviction are serious. If convicted of a misdemeanor offense such as when extortion is committed under color of official right, you may face a $1,000 fine and jail time of up to one year. Someone who attempts to commit blackmail may face up to three years in prison or up to one year in county jail, depending on whether the offense was charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Felony extortion in the state of California may result in penalties which include fines of up to $10,000, and between two to four years in state prison. Federal extortion (crimes that fall under the Hobbs Act) such as those offenses committed by federal officials using the internet, U.S. mail, or telephone may result in a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison.

Contact The Justice Firm Now

Blackmail is a serious criminal offense, leaving those convicted susceptible to severe criminal penalties. In addition, your career and reputation may suffer as the result of a convicted or guilty plea. Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys urge you to contact The Justice Firm today at (310)914-2444 for unsurpassed legal guidance and representation.