THEFT BY EXTORTION
A rarely charged and often confusing crime, theft by extortion in Arizona can take many forms. However, regardless of the form you or a loved one has been charged under; the charges are serious. Penalties often include a felony conviction, fines, probation and the possibility of prison time. Contacting an Arizona criminal attorney with experience handling theft by extortion cases is of the utmost importance. At Feldman & Royle we have handled many extortion cases and offer a free consultation to evaluate your case and answer any questions.
Theft by Extortion Defined
Extortion as a Class 2 Felony
By threatening to:
- Cause physical injury with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
- Cause death or serious physical injury.
Extortion as a Class 4 Felony
By threatening to:
- Cause any injury;
- Cause any injury to someone bedside’s the victim;
- Damage property;
- Reveal secrets, whether true of false;
- Accuse anyone of a crime or bring criminal charges;
- Cause someone to part with their property;
- Engage in other conduct constituting an offense;
- Take or withhold action as a public servant or cause a public servant to take or withhold action;
- To take or withhold certain actions concerning property easements.
In short, extortion is a means by which someone uses a threat in order to entice someone else to do or give something. These types of theft crimes crimes are often considered blackmail crimes in Arizona.
Theft by Extortion vs Bribery
Extortion is the means of using a threat in order to force another individual to provide the offender with specific property or services. For example, an individual who commits extortion may force a business owner into paying the offender money and use the threat of physical harm or property damage in order to coerce the victim into paying.
Bribery occurs when an individual offers money, a gift or another form of compensation in order to coerce an individual to do something or influence their decisions. An example of bribery would be if a business owner offers a politician a large sum of money, contingent on if they vote on a piece of legislation that would benefit the owner’s business.
Theft by Extortion vs Blackmail
Extortion is effectively blackmail in Arizona. Blackmailing occurs when an individual uses the threat of revealing harmful information about an individual as a way to coerce them into completing a certain action or giving up property.
Example. A person approaches a politician and threatens to expose them for cheating, which could hurt their marriage and public identity, if they do not pay the offender a certain sum of money. Blackmailing is most commonly used as a threat to reveal shameful, damaging or incriminating information about an individual unless they do as requested.
Extortion is more of an all-encompassing charge, as it includes threats being made about physical harm and damaging physical property, as a means of coercion.
Sentence for Extortion
The sentence for extortion in Arizona ranges depending on the type of threat that is alleged to have been used. If a person threatens to cause physical injury with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument; or to cause death or serious physical injury, then the offense is a class 2 Felony
All other forms of theft by extortion are class 4 felonies.
- Class 2 Felony
- Minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 12.5 years in prison;
- Probation may be available.
- Class 4 Felony
- Minimum of 1 year and a maximum 3.75 years;
- Probation may be available.
Other Forms of Extortion
Sexual extortion pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-1428 occurs when an individual knowingly threatens to:
- Harm the reputation of another person;
- Damage property of another person;
- Release sexual video or images of another person.
Unless they agree to:
- Engage in sexual intercourse or any form of unwanted sexual contact
- Engage in being digitally recorded, specifically in a sexual manner
- This includes threatening to record any sexual parts on the victim (genitals, breasts, anus)
- Recorded involves photography, video tape, or any form of digital recording
- Display sexual parts to other individuals or in any manner that is unwanted
Sexual extortion is a class 3 felony unless the victim is under the age of 15 in which case sexual extortion is a class 2 felony and punishable pursuant A.R.S. § 13-705 (Dangerous Crimes Against Children).
Theft by Extortion Lawyer
At Feldman & Royle, we understand that every extortion case is different and presents a number of circumstances that can help or hinder an individual’s case. We also understand that theft by extortion is a serious felony which requires careful review of the facts and law. As experienced extortion lawyers, we have handled many extortion and sexual extortion cases over the years. We offer a free and confidential consultation in order to address your questions and outline a defense strategy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is theft by extortion a felony in Arizona?
- Yes. Under Arizona law, theft by extortion is a class 2 felony if a person threatens to cause physical injury with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or threatens death or serious physical injury. Otherwise, theft by extortion is a class 4 felony.
What is an example of theft by extortion?
- An example of theft by extortion would be if an individual threatens to damage a business owner’s place of business unless they are paid a sum of money.
Is attempted theft by extortion a crime?
- Even if the person never receives the money, property or services they use threats to attempt to obtain, the crime of theft by extortion has still been committed. Theft by extortion under A.R.S. § 13-1804 requires only that you “seek” to obtain not that you “actually” obtain.