Felony extortion is a serious charge under Texas law. A felony extortion conviction carries major penalties, including a maximum prison term of 99 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Extortion is a type of theft offense under the Texas penal code. Extortion involves demanding money or property from someone using a threat. The threat can take various forms. It can be a threat to physically harm the person or someone they love, destroy their property or ruin their career or reputation.
Any type of communication can be a threat
The threat involved does not need to be made in person. A threat constituting extortion simply needs to be communicated to the alleged extortion victim. This can be through a letter, text, phone call or social media.
You may think you would never threaten someone, so how could you be charged with extortion? However, your statements or actions can be misinterpreted, and you may suddenly find yourself facing an extortion charge.
If this happens to you, you should speak with a criminal defense attorney who can analyze the allegation and advise you on potential defenses. As with any criminal charge, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Defenses based on your specific circumstances
There are many valid defenses to extortion. You may have legitimately asked someone to do something without the intent to threaten them. You may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, causing you to be incapacitated when the alleged threat was made.
Mistaken identity is another potential defense, particularly if the threat was not made in person. Someone may have accessed one of your electronic devices or logged into one of your online accounts to make the threat.
The alleged victim may also be making a false accusation. They will eventually need to produce evidence to support the allegation, and if their claim is false, they will likely not be able to do this.
Retrace the prosecutions steps
Defense relating to criminal procedure can be raised. The prosecution must do everything by the book through each step of the process. Not following procedure in any part of the process could result in a dismissed charge.
Your freedom is too valuable to leave to chance. The most important thing is to not panic and carefully evaluate all your options.