Extortion charges can be difficult to understand. The law seems like it is phrased simply, but it is more complicated than it seems on the surface. A West Palm Beach extortion lawyer can make sure you fully understand the allegations at issue and could help protect your rights.
An attorney at Leifert & Leifert could work with you to build your best defense plan. We determine what evidence the prosecution has, assess the credibility and weight of that evidence, and determine whether that evidence is sufficient for the prosecution to proceed with their case. To prove extortion, there are several elements that the prosecution must demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt. Our skilled fraud lawyers could hold the prosecution accountable for fulfilling their heavy burden and protect your rights in the process.
Extortion Laws Explained
Under Florida Statues XLVI § 836.05, extortion is using threats or force against another person to get them to perform an act against their will, usually involving the payment of money. It can be a threat to accuse the person of a crime or a threat to injure the person, their reputation, or property.
To prove the crime of extortion, the prosecutor must produce evidence that shows, beyond a reasonable doubt, that there was a communication that contained a threat, that the threat was made with malice, and that there was a specific intent to extort the person the communication was directed towards.
To prove that a threat is malicious, the prosecution must produce evidence that the threat was made intentionally and without any lawful justification. Additionally, they must prove that the threat was made with specific intent, which means they must prove the individual made the threat with the intent to compel the person to do something against their will. If the prosecution cannot prove that a threat was made maliciously or cannot prove that it was made with specific intent, they do not have a case. Extortion is a second-degree felony, which means that it is a more serious crime than a misdemeanor. Florida Statutes XLVI § 775.15 outlines the potential penalties. These include up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. A lawyer in West Palm Beach could explain how extortion charges are tried and guide an accused individual through the legal process.
What are Idle Threats?
One of the most common defenses for extortion charges is idle threats. In this defense strategy for extortion, a West Palm Beach attorney may argue that the alleged threats that the defendant made were not intended to reach the plaintiff in question. For example, if the defendant told a third-party in passing that they would expose the plaintiff’s secrets if they did not repay their debts, this does not constitute extortion, and therefore, could be a viable defense. This situation is common in cases that involve idle threats being made on social media.
How a West Palm Beach Extortion Attorney Could Help
Proving extortion puts a heavy burden on the prosecution, and a local attorney with experience in this area could work with you to assess any evidence the State possesses and determine whether they met their burden. In addition to weakening the prosecution’s case by challenging their evidence, an experienced West Palm Beach extortion defense lawyer could help you mount a strong defense against the allegations that are being made.
Our attorneys are well-versed with the defenses that are available in these cases and could work with you to build yours. Facing these charges can be overwhelming and isolating, but you do not have to go through it alone. Let our attorneys help. Schedule your free confidential consultation today.