Extortion charges in Texas are treated as serious white-collar criminal offenses punishable by prison sentences and significant fines. If you have been accused of committing extortion in Texas, you should be represented by a qualified Houston criminal defense lawyer like Rand Mintzer who is familiar with the unique legal issues presented by extortion charges.
The Texas crime of extortion underwent a consolidation with other offenses that involve the taking of property or money from another person. The consolidated theft statute is Section 31.03 of the Texas Penal Code in which extortion became the crime of theft. Theft occurs when a person unlawfully appropriates the property of another with the intention of depriving the owner of possession.
Theft by extortion is usually associated with threats to cause harm or damage to another person or the person’s property. The intended effect of the conduct of the accused is to obtain possession of the victim’s property or money. For example, threatening to damage a person’s reputation unless the offender receives $1,000 from the victim is a form of theft by extortion.
Penalties a judge might impose upon someone convicted of extorting in Texas depend upon the amount of money or the value of the property that was taken. The following are possible sentences authorized by statute:
Because the lowest offense is a Class C misdemeanor, a person convicted of extortion charges will have a criminal record. A conviction for extorting could prevent a person from obtaining licenses for occupations such as real estate broker or real estate agent, and some employers are reluctant to hire individuals convicted of theft crimes.
An essential element in any theft crime prosecution is the intent of the accused. An extortion defense attorney like Rand Mintzer is familiar with extortion charges and the evidence prosecutors use to prove each element of the crime. Extortion might not have occurred if the accused did not intent to deprive the owner of property or money.
If the prosecution has sufficient evidence to establish the extortion charges, a defense strategy challenging the amount of money or the value of the property taken by the accused could reduce the potential penalties. Lowering the value of what the accused took from the owner might reduce the charges based upon how the theft laws are currently written.
If you have been charged with extortion theft in Texas, you want a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney like Rand Mintzer who is dedicated to protecting the rights of defendants. Dial 713-862-8880 today to schedule an appointment.