Miami Criminal Defense Attorney Protecting the Rights of Individuals Accused of Extortion
Extortion is a unique crime. It has aspects of theft, white collar crime, and defamation. Different state laws treat the offense differently, depending on what aspect of the crime is most emphasized for punishment. Regardless of how the offense is characterized, the consequences of a criminal conviction for extortion can be severe. Defendants may be subject to years in prison, fines and fees, revocation of the rights to vote and own guns, and a criminal record that can make it difficult to secure employment and housing. This is why it is so important for defendants to be represented by an experienced Florida extortion attorney who knows how to prevent unlawful convictions.
The experienced criminal defense attorney at Stroleny Law, P.A. has spent years defending theft and white collar crimes in the courts of Florida. He knows how to suppress evidence that was unlawfully obtained, fight for dismissal of unsupported charges, and persuade jurors during trial. He can help determine the best strategy for resolving any law enforcement investigations or criminal charges against you. Call (305) 615-1285 today to schedule your free phone consultation.
What is Extortion?
Section 836.05 of the Florida Statutes defines extortion as maliciously threatening – either verbally or in writing – to accuse another of any crime or offense, threaten an injury to the person, property or reputation of another, threaten to expose another to disgrace or to expose any secret affecting another, or impute any deformity or lack of chastity to another with the intent to extort money or to compel the person to do any act or refrain from doing any act against his or her will. This offense is classified as a second-degree felony.
Extortion can be considered either a theft offense or a white-collar offense, depending on the circumstances of the crime. When it is committed in a workplace setting against a person in a position of power in the company, it is more akin to a white-collar crime. When it is committed against a person to whom the defendant has no business connection, and purely for the purpose of financial gain, this makes extortion more like simple theft. Interestingly, the Florida Statutes categorize extortion in the same section as defamation and libel. This suggests that Florida law emphasizes the damage that extortion can do to a victim’s reputation.
Federal Extortion Charges
The federal criminal statutes take a slightly different view of extortion. It is grouped with ransom and kidnapping in 18 U.S.C. §875. The statute prohibits these acts through the channels of interstate or foreign commerce, relying on Congress’ authority to regulate these channels through the Commerce Clause. This suggests that federal law focuses on the coercive nature of the threat (whether it is a demand for ransom, kidnapping, or extortion) in banning the behavior. Penalties under this Section range from two to twenty years of imprisonment, depending upon the specific threats that were made.
Extortionate acts are also prohibited by U.S.C. §1951, known as the Hobbs Act. The Hobbs Act was initially enacted in order to prevent racketeering in employment disputes between labor and management. It is now commonly used to address the corruption of public officials, commercial leaders, and labor leaders. The Act defines extortion as the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right. “Under color of official right” refers to public officials who use the power of their office in order to extort from others. Like Section 875, the Hobbs Act requires the jurisdiction of the Commerce Clause. The Act thus applies to robberies and extortions (as well as attempted robberies and extortions) that affect commerce, or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce.
Threats, extortion, blackmail, ransom, and kidnapping can be made either by or against a powerful official. For example, the president of a powerful company may be charged with extortion for threatening to release damaging information about his or her corporate enemies. Or that same powerful corporate leader could be the subject of threats to release damaging information. The company itself could even be the subject of an extortion threat. Two high-profile federal extortion cases have already made headlines in 2019: one involving a powerful CEO who was blackmailed with evidence that he had cheated on his wife, and another involving a highly publicized attorney who threatened to release damaging information about a large and powerful athletic wear company. These cases illustrate that threats can move in either direction of power. The critical element of an extortion charge is the improper attempt to coerce another person using threats to that person’s reputation, property, or physical safety.
Federal extortion charges are often much more serious than state charges. They usually involve greater sums of money, more powerful officials, and larger detriments to public safety. For these reasons, defendants facing federal extortion charges often face longer prison terms and higher fines than those facing state extortion charges. It is important for federal defendants to obtain legal advice from an extortion attorney who is experienced in the federal courts of Florida. Federal charges present different legal issues, strategies, and challenges. These cases can also involve the added wrinkle of intense media coverage. It is important to hire a criminal attorney who is prepared to rise to the occasion.
Experienced, Aggressive Miami Criminal Defense Attorney Ready to Fight Your Extortion Case
Don’t leave your constitutional rights exposed to the whims of a police officer or prosecutor. With an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney fighting for you, you can rest assured that you will be protected from unlawfully obtained evidence, coerced confessions, biased jury pools, prosecution witnesses who are not credible, and other important legal considerations. The experienced criminal defense attorney at Stroleny Law, P.A. can help protect your constitutional rights at all stages of criminal case proceedings. Call (305) 615-1285 for a free phone consultation as soon as possible. You can also contact us through our online contact form.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.