Extortion is defined as the illegal coercion of money, property, or services using verbal or physical threats. If you have been charged with this type of criminal activity, seek a Chattanooga extortion lawyer’s advice. The sooner you speak with an attorney, the sooner you know what your options are.
A competent, experienced legal professional proficient in coercion and theft understands the emotions that so often accompany this type of charge, and could help you navigate the following processes. An experienced criminal lawyer could review the facts of the case and help you build a strong defense.
According to Tennessee Code, Title 39, Chapter 14, Section 39-14-112 , extortion occurs when one individual coerces another to obtain services, property, an immunity or advantage, or unlawfully restrict another person’s freedom of action. It is considered a Class D felony according to Tennessee laws.
Federal law recognizes three main types of extortion. They include:
Attorneys note that blackmail and extortion-related threats come in all kinds. For example, a person might threaten to reveal a co-worker’s extramarital affair unless they pay $10,000. Blackmail and extortion subsequently differ from bribery. If the co-worker was caught having the extramarital affair and offered their coworker $10,000 to be silent, the latter would face a bribe.
Attorneys who take on blackmail cases often use the “claim of right” defense, or that the defendant was legally owed property or services and therefore was not committing extortion. Say a person lent their neighbor $5,000 and gave the individual 30 days to pay it back. Perhaps the neighbor even signed a document or made a video statement saying they would repay the money by a certain date. If the neighbor refused to make the payment in subsequent weeks, it is within the “loan agent’s” right to demand the money. The neighbor could claim blackmail in retaliation; however, their claim has no merit and would get dismissed by the court.
Other extortion defenses include lawful payment for goods or services rendered. For example, say an individual sold products or provided assorted services to another person, and sent an invoice. The receiver ignored the invoice, causing the first individual to make numerous phone calls to the receiver on a daily basis. While persistent calling could be viewed as harassment by a court of law, the person who provided the products or services is still within their payment rights. They are therefore not guilty of extortion.
A blackmail case can blemish your reputation in addition to causing stress and anxiety. If you need legal assistance to defend yourself against blackmail charges, one of the Chattanooga extortion lawyers at our renowned firm will happily assist you. We could work to show that you were legally entitled to the property or services in question, and did not engage in unlawful activities no matter what the accuser says. Even if the case was simply a misunderstanding between two parties, we will make it evident to the court. Contact us today about your case to learn what our hardworking team will do for you.