In New Jersey, extortion is defined as purposely and unlawfully obtaining the property or money of another person. The use of a remote threat and intimidation are what distinguishes extortion from other theft offenses like robbery or criminal coercion. This threat can involve a victim’s property, loved ones, intimidation, or a false claim to right.
According to Section 2C:20-5 of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, “A person extorts if he purposely threatens to:
- Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
- Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
- Expose or publicize any secret or any asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;
- Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
- Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
- Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
- Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.”
One of the more common forms of extortion is blackmail. This occurs when a threat is made to expose embarrassing or damaging information to family, friends, or the public.
Extortion is a crime of the second degree. A conviction carries up to ten years in prison, or more for offenders with significant prior records. The offense is subject to the No Early Release Act, meaning that 85% of any prison sentence must be served before parole eligibility.
Defenses against Extortion
The nuances of the laws addressing extortion are exceedingly complicated. Given the severe penalties, it is imperative to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney like Fred Sisto if you or a loved one are charged with extortion.
Contact Fred Sisto today at (732) 898-3232 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.