What is considered extortion and blackmail in Arizona? It is a serious matter to be accused of extortion or blackmail in the state of Arizona, in addition to any criminal penalties you might face upon conviction, it can also be damaging to your reputation to be accused of such egregious acts. Knowing how to handle the situation and hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help represent you can be essential for preventing the negative outcomes associated with a criminal conviction.

What are Extortion and Blackmail?

Extortion refers to situations in which an individual seeks to obtain property or services by knowingly threatening to cause physical injury to someone else, damage property, or threats of such actions.

Blackmail is one of the most well-known extortion crimes, typically occurring when an individual threatens to release embarrassing details or data that could damage another individual’s reputation. Although these two charges can be separate, extortion and blackmail do have some similar elements.

Arizona Laws Related to Blackmail and Extortion

Arizona laws related to extortion and blackmail are relatively similar to other states. With regard to extortion, an individual who attempts to obtain or knowingly obtained items as a result of a threat to cause physical harm, physical injury, property damage, accuse someone of a crime, release confidential information about someone in order to cause public ridicule, taking away someone else’s personal property, filing criminal charges against someone, or ruining another person’s credit may all be linked to extortion. Under Arizona laws, blackmail is treated as an extortion charge.

Penalties for Extortion and Blackmail Charges in Arizona

If the incident of extortion occurs when an individual causes physical injury or threatens to cause physical injury with a deadly weapon, the accused individual could be facing class 2 felony charges. If a deadly weapon was actually used in the presence of a victim, the charges are even more serious and involve mandatory prison time. For a first offense, an individual could be in prison for between 7 and 21 years. Further offenses involve even longer prison sentences.

If the accused criminal threatened to use a deadly weapon, but did not actually produce the weapon in front of the victim, there are still mandatory prison sentences, although less severe. For all other situations that did not involve threat or use of a deadly weapon, extortion is charged as a class four felony. For a first offense, and accused individual could be facing up to 3.75 years in prison if convicted.

Handling an Extortion Charge

As you can see, the specifics of an extortion charge depend largely on the circumstances in which a threat or physical injury occurred. Walking through the incident in question with an experienced criminal defense attorney is recommended so that you can develop a comprehensive defense strategy. Hiring a criminal lawyer to represent your interests and rights in court is imperative, and it is a step you should take as soon as you have been charged with crime.  The extortion statutes specifically list defenses that are available.  An experienced criminal attorney can tell you whether or not these specific defenses apply to your case.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please feel free to contact Mesa Criminal Attorney, Garrett L. Smith at 480-540-6021 log on to www.mycriminaldefenselawyeraz.com, or contact an attorney in your area.