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Extortion Charges in Maryland

When most people hear the word extortion, they typically associate it with big cases, especially those involving high-stakes white collar crimes and even mafia or gang-related crimes. However, the truth is that extortion is relatively common and seen throughout courtrooms in the state. Blackmail, as it is commonly referred to, is not the same as charges like racketeering or bribery. Extortion is its own crime and has its own set of factors that must be proven in order to get a conviction.

If you have been charged with extortion, do not take it lightly. Extortion could be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony. In some cases, it can also even be a federal offense. It is important to retain a skilled Waldorf criminal defense attorney who has experience handling extortion cases.

What Does Extortion Involve?

To be charged with extortion, the alleged crime must involve you attempting to obtain the services or property of someone else. It often involves money or a promise of money, but it can also involve other things or any action that has some sort of value.

What makes extortion unique is that it requires that the services or property must be provided with the supposed victim’s consent. It is not an unlawful theft, nor will it usually involve deceit or fraud. Extortion involves use of force or threats. It can be anything from violence to threats to destroy someone’s government identification in order to hurt his or her immigration status in the United States. If someone only consents because of the threat, then it will likely be considered extortion.

There is an exemption in the law dealing with certain employment and labor actions that are lawful and legitimate activities related to better benefits and salaries. If there are discussions taking place concerning wages, working conditions, schedules, etc., it is likely not extortion. However, any employee who crosses the line and engages in illegal efforts and threatens force, injury, or violence will see the exemption disappear. This means he or she could be charged with extortion.

Penalties for Extortion in Maryland

For extortion to be charged as a misdemeanor, the value of property in question must be under $1,000. If it is valued over $1,000, then it will be a felony. There are fines and potential jail time for extortion in Maryland, even for a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor extortion penalties can include a $1,000 fine and up to 18 months in prison, or both.

Felonies are further broken down based on the value of the property or services. For property value between $1,000 and $10,000, you could be facing up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. For values between $10,000 and $100,000, it could be 15 years in prison and a fine of $15,000. For values of $100,000 or more, you could be looking at 25 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

Extortion becomes a federal matter if the threat is communicated through the use of the postal service.

Contact a Maryland Criminal Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been charged with the crime of extortion, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney right away. Contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro today at 301-705-5253 to schedule an initial consultation.

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