Under New Jersey law, a person is guilty of theft by extortion if he or she “purposely and unlawfully obtains property of another by extortion.” This may seem fairly straightforward, however, experienced criminal defense attorneys will challenge the State’s case regarding what qualifies as “extortion.” There is case law and legislation regarding what actions will qualify as extortion, those these circumstances vary wildly from case-to-case. As a second degree felony offense, theft by extortion carries up to 10 years in imprisonment, along with possible fines, probation, community service and restitution. Depending on the strength of the State’s case and your criminal history, New Jersey’s diversionary program known as Pretrial Intervention (PTI) may be the best possible outcome in your case. Regardless, it is imperative that you take time and do your research when obtaining experienced and competent legal counsel. Furthermore, the attorney-client relationship is referred to as a relationship for a reason. It requires a great deal of communication, care and attention. Contact our firm to discuss the facts of your case today and learn what we provide you or your loved ones during this difficult time. Our attorneys may be reached 24/7 at 848-238-2100.
N.J.S.A. 2C:20-5 Extortion Law
In order to convict defendant of the charge, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
That defendant obtained the property of another;
That defendant obtained that property purposely and unlawfully;
That defendant obtained the property by extortion
What is Extortion?
A person “extorts” if he or she purposely threatens to any of the following:
Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
“Bodily injury” means physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition. “Restrain” means to confine, to abridge, to limit, to restrict liberty. “Offense” means a crime, a disorderly persons offense, or a petty disorderly persons offense.
Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
Expose or publicize any secret or any asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair (his/her) credit or business repute;
Take or withhold action as an official or cause an official to take or withhold action;
Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense;
Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.
Is there a defense to Theft by Extortion?
An affirmative defense is an argument raised by the defendant that stands as justification for actions that, in this case, would constitute extortion. In Ocean County, New Jersey, if there is evidence that you honestly claimed the property obtained as restitution, indemnification for harm done in the circumstances or as lawful compensation for property or services, then you will be granted this affirmative defense. In that scenario, the Ocean County Prosecutor must disprove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not obtain the property under an honest claim that the property was rightfully yours in order to defeat your affirmative defense. Contact our attorneys to discuss if this affirmative defense could be applied to your case.
Penalties for Second Degree Theft By Extortion in Toms River NJ
As a second degree felony offense, a guilty plea or conviction will carry with it between 5 and 10 years in a New Jersey State Penitentiary. This is in addition to any other requirements imposed in the judges discretion such as fines, reimbursement and community service. As a second degree felony offense, Pretrial Intervention (PTI) is generally not consented to by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. However, if your application is denied, we may still file and appeal of the prosecutor’s decision with the judge.
If you or your loved one have an upcoming detention hearing or a first appearance arraignment scheduled, contact our office to discuss what will happen. Our team of criminal trial attorneys are equipped to handle your case from start to finish and will give you the one-on-one attention expected in an attorney-client relationship. We can be reached day and night at 848-238-2100.
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