Norcross Extortion Defense Lawyers
Extortion is about as close as a financial crime can come to being considered a violent crime. It is where someone steals property by intimidating the victim into giving it to them. You can face serious criminal penalties, up to and including, a lengthy prison sentence, if you get convicted of extortion in Georgia. The Gwinnett County financial crimes defense lawyers at Zimmerman & Associates can help you offer the most appropriate and effective defenses to charges of extortion.
What Is Theft by Extortion?
Georgia law defines the crime of theft by extortion as threatening or intimidating someone in order to compel them to hand over money or other valuable property. The following are some examples of actions that are considered as theft by extortion, if they are taken to force the victim into giving you money:
- Physical violence or threats of physical violence against the victim or their family members.
- Revealing information about the victim that would harm their reputation or cause them to face criminal charges (this is also known as blackmail).
- Publishing videos or images of the victim online against the victim’s wishes, especially if this content is of an intimate nature or shows the victim acting in ways that would damage their reputation (this is known as sextortion if the content is sexually explicit).
- Threatening to influence public officials to take adverse action against the victim, such as falsely accusing them of a crime and causing them to be arrested.
- If the victim is a defendant in a criminal case, threatening to withhold information that would establish reasonable doubt about their guilt.
Criminal Penalties for Extortion in Georgia
Pursuant to Georgia Code O.C.G.A. § 16-8-16(d), theft by extortion is a felony. The penalty for theft by extortion in Georgia ranges from one year in prison to ten years in prison.
Possible Defenses to Charges of Extortion
A jury cannot convict you of theft by extortion or any other crime unless they are certain, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you committed the actions of which you are being accused. In the case of theft by extortion, this means that the prosecution must prove that you received the property from the victim and that this only happened because you threatened or intimidated the victim. You may be able to argue that you received the property from the victim, but you did not intimidate them. You might argue that the victim willingly gave you the property, or that you took it without the victim’s knowledge or consent, but you did not threaten or intimidate the victim. You might also argue that there are other ways to interpret the prosecution’s evidence that do not point clearly to you being guilty of theft by extortion.
Atlanta Extortion Defense Lawyer
Zimmerman & Associates is a criminal defense law firm in Gwinnett County, Georgia dedicated to helping defendants fight charges of theft by extortion and other financial crimes. Contact Zimmerman & Associates in Norcross, Georgia to discuss possible defenses in your theft by extortion case.