If you have been charged with this offense, you need to understand what this crime is and how you could be sentenced if you are convicted. You also must take immediate steps to mount a strong defense to fight the charges you face.
What Constitutes Extortion in Virginia?
Under Virginia Code §18.2-59, there are four ways an individual can commit the crime of extortion. It occurs when the accused forces or extorts money, property, or other pecuniary gains from someone while doing any of the following:
- Threatening injury to the character, person, or property of another individual
- Accusing them of committing a crime
- Threatening to report the person as being in the United States illegally
- Knowingly concealing, destroying, removing, confiscating, or withholding or threatening to withhold someone’s passport or other immigration documents
If the charges are based on a threat, it does not have to be explicitly communicated to the victim. The threat can be implied or veiled, and the court would look at all the circumstances in determining whether this element of the crime has been established.
What Are the Penalties for Extortion?
In our state, extortion is a Class 5 felony. If convicted, a defendant could be sentenced to one to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. In addition, they would have a permanent criminal record. This could limit their ability to obtain a job or housing, own a firearm, and vote.
What Should You Do If You Are Arrested for Extortion?
If you were charged with extortion in Virginia, you should not assume that you will be convicted. You could have strong defenses—even if you are guilty.
You need to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest. They can mount a strong defense strategy for you that may result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. To find out how we will aggressively defend you and what to expect in your criminal case, call our Manassas office or fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free consultation today.