California Penal Code Section 518 – Extortion
As you might guess, the crime of extortion in Los Angeles or anywhere in California, is a very serious crime. What the authorities are first going to look at is – is the extortion of just a normal person, a citizen and the community, or is it extortion of some sort of public official, of somebody in high standing.
Obviously, if it's somebody in high standing and the extortion is serious enough, they are trying to get prison against that person. A lot of times I see this extortion charge in the LA courts overblown. Somebody gets angry at another person, that person owes them money, they have some sort of a business dispute and some words are said that are probably not really meant and the next thing you know, the person has an extortion charge that they have to defend.
So, the first thing we need to do is get your version of events, find out exactly what happened, see if you have a defense to the crime or see if it can be mitigated and we can do some damage control to help you out.
If on the other hand, it's a serious extortion where there is some sort of threat, force, violence, threat of death, threat of death of family members – those are the most serious cases. The prosecutors in LA are going to assign a heavy-hitting prosecutor on it. I've handled these types of cases for the last twenty-five years and I know they take these crimes very seriously. They put high bails on people and obviously they try to punish people as severely as they possibly can.
One big thing that I've noticed is they will assign special prosecutors to extortion cases and they are going to do everything they can, number one – to protect the person that's been extorted; and number two – to punish the person that's doing the extorting.
What I like to do is get you in the office, we go over everything and we talk about exactly what happened, what the circumstances were. Do they have the evidence? That's another question. Do they have the evidence to convict you of a crime? If they don't, then we're going to need to assert some sort of a defense to this crime of extortion.
Legal Defenses for Penal Code 518 Extortion
Extortion or a crime otherwise known as blackmail really comes to pass when somebody uses force, threats or some sort of fear to extort money from another person, or to extort some sort of value or extort them to do something. Extortion is a huge umbrella that can encompass a lot of different things and really these defenses spin on the facts of the case.
That's why it's so important to get in front of an attorney who's been down this road before, who's handled extortion cases in the court where the case is pending, who knows the judge's tendencies, who knows the prosecutor's tendencies, and who knows how to defend these cases.
One defense could be listen, I didn't extort anybody. This person is trying to use the justice system, the police, the prosecutors and even the judge, as a shield because they owe me money or they've done something unscrupulous to me regarding a business deal and now they're trying to get out of it, so now they're going to claim that I did and said a bunch of stuff and I didn't do it.
So, the prosecutors really need to have good evidence on these cases – either audio, video, eye witnesses who are independent who don't have an allegiance to the alleged victim – otherwise, the defense can attack the case, attack the credibility and reliability of the alleged victim and really get your version of events across.
This is one big thing in extortion cases that I noticed is crucial – which is to get your side of the story, your version of events across, because a lot of times the police only take one side. They don't get the whole story about what happened, and so now everything is pointed at you, you've done all of these horrible things, when in reality the other party has done some things as well. There's always two sides to a story and especially in extortion cases in Los Angeles. Your version of events has to be gotten across. We have to get you in the office, give me all the information so I can assess what happened. You have to be honest. You can't put a spin on things.
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You can't omit anything. Then once I have your version of events, were going to talk about what our strategy is going to be. How are we going to defend you for this extortion case and how we're going to protect your rights, your freedom, your reputation and everything that you hold dear.
It's crucial that you either mount a defense that can be completely successful and get you off or at least do damage control so that we can show this case is not a full-blown extortion case. This case should not fall under the umbrella and policy that says, send the person who did this to prison, and the best way you're going to do that is through your champion – through your criminal defense attorney who has been down this road before and had success.