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Making Threats/Extortion

Under Florida Statute Section 836.10, it is unlawful for a person to make written threats to kill or do bodily injury to another person or a family member of that person.  This Jacksonville Written Threats crime is a second-degree felony.

In Jacksonville, Florida, making threats is not limited to physical threats.  According to Florida Statute Section 836.05, extortion occurs when a person maliciously threatens another.  This Florida statute prohibits threatening to:

  1. accuse another of a crime;
  2. injure a person, his property or reputation of another;
  3. expose another to disgrace;
  4. expose a secret affecting another; or
  5. impute a deformity or lack of chastity of another.  

In Jacksonville, Florida, the person charged with extortion must do one of the actions listed above with the intent to:

  1. extort money or gain a pecuniary advantage or
  2. compel another to commit an act or refrain from committing an act against his will.
  3. Actual Malice versus Legal Malice with Jacksonville Extortion
Actual Malice versus Legal Malice with Jacksonville Extortion

Although it is a subtle distinction, under the Extortion statute, the prosecutor is required to prove the threat was committed with Actual Malice, which means “means ill will, hatred, spite, evil intent.”

This is in contrast to what is known as Legal Malice, which only requires that an act be committed intentionally and without any lawful justification.Penalties for Extortion in Jacksonville and Florida

The crime of Extortion is a Second Degree Felony in Florida and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.

Extortion is assigned a Level 6 offense severity ranking under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code. A judge may sentence a person convicted of Extortion to probation, but may also sentence the person up to the statutory maximum of 15 years in prison.Defenses to Extortion

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any Jacksonville criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Extortion are:

Idle Threats

It is a defense to the crime of Extortion if it can be shown that the threat was never intended to actually reach the intended target and was just an idle threat.

An example of an idle threat defense would be if you told someone without the intent to pass the message on that you would expoe a third party if they didnt repay a debt. Since the threat was not intended to be passed on, there was no crime of Extortion.

Litigation Privilege

Known as the Litigation Privilege, a lawyer may make written demands of another party without fear of being prosecuted or sued for extortion, even if these same demands would constitute the crime of extortion if made by the lawyer’s client.

The basis for this privilege is that a lawyer should be free to act on their own best judgment in prosecuting or defending a lawsuit without fear of later having to defend against an action for something said or written during the litigation.

Jacksonville Extortion is a second-degree felony.  If you are charged with Extortion in Jacksonville, Florida or the surrounding areas, contact a Jacksonville Extortion Attorney. A Jacksonville Extortion Lawyer will protect your rights.
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