Los Angeles Blackmail Defense Attorneys
We Never Stop Fighting for Our Clients
Blackmail is the act of threatening to harm or embarrass someone if they don’t give you money or perform some type of action against their will. This offense may be prosecuted as a felony in California and under federal statutes.
There are several elements of the crime that must be proved for prosecutors to convict someone of blackmail. A skilled white collar crime attorney knows how to find holes in the prosecution’s case.
At Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, our nationally recognized criminal defense attorneys have won cases against some of the most distinguished prosecutors in the nation. If you’ve been charged with blackmail, our team will use every available resource to protect your freedom.
Call (213) 688-0460 to schedule your case evaluation today.
What Is Blackmail?
In California, blackmail may be prosecuted under laws against extortion, which is the attempt to gain property or elicit actions through the use of force, threats, or intimidation. Blackmail occurs when you tell someone that there will be negative consequences if they don’t do what you tell them to do.
Examples of blackmail include threatening to:
- Release evidence that a person committed a crime if they don’t give you money;
- Tell your boss’s wife he’s having an affair if he doesn’t give you a promotion;
- Release incriminating pictures of someone on the internet if they refuse to pay you;
- Destroy a company’s essential data using ransomware if they don’t pay you;
- Damage a person’s property if they don’t give money;
- Testify against them in a criminal case unless they give you money;
- Release embarrassing information about a judge unless she acquits a guilty suspect.
Penalties for Blackmail
Laws against extortion in California carry penalties that include heavy fines and up to 4 years in prison. But if the victim doesn’t comply with the blackmailer’s demands, then the offender cannot be charged with extortion. In these cases, prosecutors may charge the offender with attempted extortion.
Attempted extortion is a wobbler under California Law. That means the district attorney may decide to prosecute it as a misdemeanor or a felony. Prosecution for felony attempted extortion carries fines of up to $10,000 dollars and up to 3 years in prison.
Depending on the related charges, a federal conviction for extortion could put you behind bars for decades. The federal government may choose to prosecute a defendant for blackmail if the offense:
- Affects interstate or foreign commerce
- Involves a significant federal interest
- Threatens foreign officials, official guests, or protected people
- Is committed by US government officials
- Is related to drug trafficking or organized crime
- Involves the US mail
Legal Defenses Against Blackmail
To convict someone of blackmail, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable shadow of a doubt that every element of the crime occurred. An experienced defense attorney knows how to attack the weakest part of the prosecution’s argument.
Effective legal defenses against charges of blackmail include:
- False accusations altogether
- There was no intent to commit blackmail
- There was never any reasonable threat of harm
- Lack of physical evidence
- The defendant never received any payment or reward
Have You Been Accused of Blackmail?
The criminal defense attorneys at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP have been recognized for excellence by our peers and featured in news stories by CNN, CNBC, Fox News, the Los Angeles Times, and the BBC. We’ll fight to ensure the best possible outcome for you.
Call (213) 688-0460 to learn more today.
Contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP Today
Phone: (213) 688-0460
Fax: (213) 624-1942
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.