In New Jersey it is a crime to gain, or attempt to gain property, belonging to another, by using threats against the property owner. Property can be money, moveable property (like jewelry, cars, etc.), or immovable property, such as real estate. It does not matter you did not take physical control pf the property.
That threats were made to obtain the property is all that is necessary to be convicted of this crime. Extortion includes:
- It is considered EXTORTION under 2C:20-5(a), to threaten physical harm on another, to obtain the money or property of another. Besides extortion, the circumstances of the threat can also lead to charges of RobberyJ.S. 2C:15-1, or Attempted Robbery, under N.J.S. 2C:5-1.
- It is considered EXTORTION under 2C:20-5(a), to Physically restrain someone, until they pay you, or give you property. Besides extortion, the circumstances of the restraint, could also lead to charges of Kidnapping under N.J.S. 2C:13-1 and Criminal Restraint under J.S. 2C:13-2.
- It is considered EXTORTION under 2C:20-5(b), to threaten to accuse another of an offense, or to cause charges to be brought against another, to obtain money or property, even if the allegations are true. If the threatened allegations are false, you can also be charged with False Swearing, under J.S. 2C:28-2, or Filing a False Police Report, under 2C:28-34.
- It is considered EXTORTION under 2C:20-5(c), to publicize any secret or asserted fact, even if true, if it would subject the other to hatred, contempt, or ridicule.
- It is considered EXTORTION under 2C:20-5(c), to publicize any secret or asserted fact, even if true, if it would subject the other to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, unless payment is made.
- It is considered EXTORTION under 2C:20-5(c), to threaten to harm another’s credit rating unless payment of money or property are made.
- It is considered EXTORTION under 2C:20-5(c), to threaten to harm another’s business reputation unless payment of money or property are made.
- If you are an elected official, you can be charged with EXTORTION under 2C:20-5(d), if you request payment of money or other property in exchange for an agreement to take some action or not take some action. This offense is also closely related to Bribery, under J.S. 2C:27-2 and Official Misconduct under…
- It is considered EXTORTION under 2C:20-5(e), to threaten a boycott, stroke, or other collective action, if payment of money or property is not made to benefit of a group you are attempting to benefit.
- It is considered EXTORTION under 2C:20-5(f), to threaten to testify, provide information, or withhold information as part of someone’s legal claim or defense. In addition, if the threats involve a witness, you can be charged with Witness Tampering, in violation of N.J.S. 2C:28-5.
- It is considered EXTORTION under 2C:20-5(g), to threaten to inflict any non-physical harm, which would benefit you and hurt another, in exchange for payment.
Penalty for Extortion
Unlike other Theft Crimes, the seriousness of the charge does not depend on the value threatened or received. Extortion, under N.J.S. 2C:20-5, is a Crime of the Second Degree, punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison, and up to a $100,000 fine. Prosecutors take extortion charges seriously. If you are convicted of extortion you will be sentenced to a prison sentence, even if you have no prior record. Finally, a conviction for extortion cannot be expunged from your record you will have a permanent criminal record.
Defending an Extortion Charge
Extortion charges can be defended against. First the State must prove that you acted purposefully in extorting the money pr property from the victim. This can be established on if the Prosecution proves, beyond a reasonable doubt it was your conscious intention to engage in such conduct. Second, if you had a claim to the property or rightful ownership, of it, then you should not be able to be convicted of extortion. In certain circumstances, it may be a defense if the victim owed you restitution.
If your charges cannot be dismissed, and a conviction looks certain, then it may be possible to reduce the severity through plea bargaining. It may be possible to have the sentence of jail reduced to that of the Third Degree, which allows for probation instead of prison, or at least a reduced t prison sentence. In some unique situations, you may be eligible for pre-trial intervention.
Contact Steven Hernandez Today!
If you are facing anextortion charges in New Jersey, the potential consequences can be severe, and a prison sentence is likely. Having an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense attorney is crucial in these circumstances. Steven W. Hernandez represents people charged with state and federal extortion violations and related crimes.
You need a lawyer with the experience and skill to protect your rights and keep you out of prison. Attorney, Steven W. Hernandez will provide you with aggressive representation to mitigate, or possibly eliminate, the penalties associated with your charges. To help ensure your rights, and future are protected, allow a New Jersey Extortion Defense lawyer, from our firm, fight for you. To request a free consultation, call us today at 732-286-2700.