Taking property belonging to person through threats of physical harm or harm to someone’s reputation could be the crime of extortion. Texas criminal laws categorize extortion as a theft under the offenses against property section of the Texas Penal Code.
Section 31.02 of the Texas Penal Code consolidated several criminal offenses under a single theft category. Crimes that were once treated as individual crimes but are now referred to as a theft include:
Originally, only public servants or government officials could be charged with committing the crime of extortion because they were in a position to threaten government action to extort money. Today, extortion applies to private citizens as well as public officers who threaten the following to take money or property:
A charge of extortion in Texas can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. The severity of the charge depends upon the value of the property or the amount of the money taken by the offender. The least severe charge is a class C misdemeanor when the amount taken is less than $50.
As the value of the money or property increases, so does the severity of the charge and the penalties that a judge can impose. Typical charges and the dollar amounts of the property taken include:
The penalty for extortion as a class C misdemeanor is a fine up to $500 for a person convicted of extortion as a class C misdemeanor to a minimum of five years up to a maximum of 20 years in prison for a first degree felony. Other sentences include:
If you have been accused of extortion, you may be facing some serious penalties. Get a hold of Rand Mintzer by calling 713-862-8880 to learn how to defend against these charges.