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What Are the Penalties for Extortion in California?

A bag of money and loose coins sitting next to a judge's gavel made of unfinished wood.

Facing an extortion charge in California? This is a serious case and it’s important to understand the implications of being charged with this crime under California law. In this blog post, we’ll provide an overview on the penalties for extortion in California and discuss what you should do if you’re charged with extortion in The Golden State.

Definition of Extortion

Extortion refers to the illegal act of obtaining something, usually money or property, from someone using threats, violence, or fear. It can happen in various forms and can be carried out in person, over the phone, or through digital channels. It’s important for people to know their rights and seek legal help if they’re charged with extortion in California because the penalties for an extortion conviction this state can be severe.

Penalties for a Conviction of Extortion in California

Extortion is a serious crime in California and those convicted can face harsh penalties. The punishment for an extortion conviction in California will depend on the specifics of the case, but in general it can include:

  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Up to four years in prison

In addition, a conviction for extortion can have long-lasting consequences, such as a criminal record that can affect future job prospects and personal relationships.

The Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Extortion Charges

When it comes to extortion charges, it's important to understand the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony. A misdemeanor extortion charge typically involves a threat of harm or injury that is viewed as less severe or carries a lower monetary value.

On the other hand, a felony extortion charge usually involves a more serious threat of harm or injury, the use of force or fear, or the demand for a much larger sum of money. The consequences of a felony conviction are much more severe and can include substantial fines, lengthy prison sentences, and a criminal record that can affect many aspects of your life.

Possible Defenses to Extortion Charges in California

Being accused of extortion in California could mean facing serious legal consequences. However, there are certain defenses that a defendant can use to fight these charges, including:

  • Claiming that the alleged victim gave their consent to the act of extortion, rendering it legal.
  • The defendant believed they had a legitimate claim to the property or service being demanded.
  • The use of threats can also be challenged if the defendant can prove they did not intend to follow through with them.

While these defenses may not always result in a complete dismissal of charges, they can certainly help to mitigate the severity of the punishment.

Give Appel & Morse a call at (805) 467-6060 or reach out to us online today for a free consultation with our experienced extortion defense attorneys in Fresno.

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