Texas Extortion Lawyer

If you or someone you love is being investigated for extortion in Texas, it’s in your best interest to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The legal team of Peveto Law has a thorough understanding of Texas extortion laws, and the elements of offense that prosecutors must prove. An extortion conviction can result in steep penalties, community service and years of incarceration, not to mention a criminal record.

When it comes to your rights and your freedom, don’t take chances with your legal representation. Andrew Peveto is a skilled extortion lawyer who can help individuals fight charges and reduce potential penalties.

Extortion definition

Like most states, Texas defines extortion as the demanding of money or property by threatening reputational damage, physical violence, property damage or an unlawful action against the government. While blackmail is a type of extortion, a person who blackmails is threatening with possible – and not immediate — harm such as revealing something that would be damaging to the victim or their family’s reputation in exchange for something of value. With blackmail, there is no threat of inflicting physical violence or bodily injury.

Extortion laws require that a threat must be made to the person, their friends or family, or their property. While threat of violence does not have to occur, there must be an accusation of a crime or another illicit offense with the intent to gain favors, money or property.

The act of extortion does not have to be enacted in person. Any type of the above-mentioned threatening communication via telephone, email, texts, social media, online chats or written letters can be considered extortion under Texas law.

Cyberextortion is another type of growing crime nationwide, that involves an attack or threat of an attack along with a demand for money. Ransomware scams are a common example of cyberextortion, where the victim must pay hackers a certain fee to regain access to their computer or stored data.

Extortion Texas penal code: charges & penalties

The crime of extortion is covered under Section 31.01 of the Texas Penal Code. This statute defines extortion as a theft offense, in line with other property crimes. The severity of criminal penalties for extortion is dependent on the value of property, services or amount of money that were allegedly extorted from the victim. When determining a sentence, the court considers the type of threats that were made against the victim; if the person being extorted was disabled, elderly, or employed by the government, and the alleged suspect’s intent and amount of emotional damage inflicted upon the victim.

Possible penalties for extortion in Texas include:

  • Class C misdemeanor (fines of up to $500 and no jail time) – if the value of extorted goods is less than $50.
  • Class B misdemeanor (fine of up to $2,000 and up to 6 months in jail) – if the value of the property extorted is under $100 and the offender has a history of theft offenses, or the item extorted is a driver’s license or a state-issued personal identification certificate
  • Class A misdemeanor (fines of up to $4,000 and 1 year of jail) – if the value of extorted goods is $750 or more but less than $2,500
  • First-degree felony (a maximum 99-year prison and fines up to $10,000) if the defendant received property, services or goods valued at $200,000 or more.

Texas extortion defense attorney

As an experienced extortion lawyer, handling cases in state and federal courts, Andrew Peveto has the expertise and determination to provide clients with a vigorous defense that is tailored to the specifics of your circumstances and charges. Possible defenses raised in criminal extortion cases:

  • Insufficient evidence to support accusations
  • Falsely accused
  • Proof of factual innocence
  • Proof of insanity or incapacity
  • Absence of intention to commit extortion
  • Proof that the accuser didn’t use threat, fear, or force to induce consent
  • Mistaken identity

In some extortion cases, it is also possible to cite illegal searches, interrogation, or seizure as well as coercion.

Criminal defense lawyer serving Collin and Dallas Counties

If you have been arrested for extortion or are currently under investigation for any type of theft offense, Peveto Law has been successfully defending clients for more than 10 years. Set up a free, confidential case evaluation with a Plano property crime defense lawyer who aggressively fights for your rights.

Additional Resources:

  1. Legal Dictionary, Extortion Definition https://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=709
  2. gov, PENAL CODE, TITLE 7. OFFENSES AGAINST PROPERTY, CHAPTER 31. THEFT, https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.31.htm