When a victim is forced to hand over cash or other valuables under coercion or under threat of violence, financial ruin, or reputational harm, this is known as extortion. The most fundamental kind of extortion is blackmail.
Degrees of Extortion in Washington
Extortion is defined as willfully “attempting to obtain or procuring by threat, the property, or services of another, including sexual favors” in Washington.
First- and second-degree extortion are recognized as levels of crime in Washington. Both crimes are considered felonies, but the first-degree offense carries a more serious penalty because it is a class B felony (punishable by up to 10 years in jail) rather than a class C felony (punishable by up to 5 years in prison). The sort of threat involved determines how the accusation differs.
Extortion in the First Degree
Extortion becomes worse when it’s done in the first place. When threats are made against:
- Any other behavior that is meant to endanger someone’s safety, wealth, or interpersonal connections.
- Cause further physical harm to the victim or another ● Declare a secret to the public
- Give testimony (or refuse to give testimony) about a legal matter
- Inform the public of a truth that makes the victim a target of their hostility or mockery ● Physically harm the victim’s or another’s property in some way.
- Restrict or physically enclose the victim or another
Extortion in the Second Degree
The less demanding of the two degrees is this one. This crime is committed when threats are made against:
- Act in any other manner with the intent to significantly injure another person, their financial interests, or their interpersonal ties
- Charge someone with a crime
- Disclose sensitive information
- Expose an information, whether real or false, that makes the victim the target of derision or hostility in the public
- Take formal action (or inaction)
- Testify on a legal matter (or refuse to testify)
Extortion is a severe crime, and if found guilty, you might face a lengthy prison sentence. Please get in touch with The Cowlitz Law Group’s skilled criminal defense attorneys if you have been detained or accused of the crime of extortion. Call The Cowlitz Law Group at (360) 355-4465 or (360) 597-7585 ext. 1 or contact us here.