Georgia Extortion Lawyer
Extortion is a form of theft that takes place when a person influences the behavior of someone else through the use of threats or intimidation. While many people believe that extortion schemes only involve high profile individuals or organized crime, the reality is that anyone can be charged with committing this type of offense. Furthermore, those who are convicted of violating Georgia’s extortion laws are subject to extremely harsh penalties, including possible imprisonment and hefty fines, so if you are being investigated for your involvement in an extortion-related scheme, it is important to consult with an experienced Georgia extortion lawyer who may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed.
What is Extortion?
In Georgia, a person can be convicted of extortion if prosecutors can prove that he or she unlawfully obtained property from another person by threatening to:
- Inflict bodily injury on that individual or someone else;
- Commit a criminal offense;
- Accuse someone else of committing a crime;
- Distribute information about the alleged victim that would cause them embarrassment or subject them to ridicule;
- Take or withhold action as a public official or cause another official to take or withhold such an action;
- Start a strike, boycott, or collective unofficial action if the property desired by the accused won’t actually benefit the group; or
- Withhold testimony about information that could be helpful to someone else’s legal claim or defense.
These threats can be directed towards the property owner, the property itself, or even the owner’s loved ones. It’s important to note that, unlike robbery, threats do not need to be imminent for a person to have committed extortion.
Those who are convicted of extortion face up to ten years imprisonment, making it especially important for individuals who have been charged with this crime to start building a strong defense as soon as possible. This is important not only because those who are convicted of extortion face criminal penalties, but also because victims have the option of filing a civil claim against the accused for monetary damages.
Often, defendants are able to avoid conviction (and the payment of any civil damages) by raising an affirmative defense, which involves admitting that money or property was indeed taken, but denying that anything illegal took place. Demonstrating that money was obtained as compensation for a personal injury or for lawful services rendered, for example, could also forestall an unfair conviction. Alternatively, a person could attempt to prove that he or she only acted out of duress, or was incapacitated at the time of the offense. Proof of a lack of intent to take someone else’s property could also help prevent a person from being unfairly convicted.
Have You Been Charged with Extortion?
For help defending yourself against unfair extortion allegations, please call the dedicated Georgia extortion lawyers at Hawkins Spizman. You can schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team by calling our office at 770-209-2310 or by sending us an online message.