The criminal charge of Extortion in Louisiana is a felony offense. It is a very serious charge that prosecutors and judges provide harsh sentences for. Extortion is the communication of threats to another with the intention thereby to obtain anything of value or any acquittance, advantage, or immunity of any description. Basically, a person can get charged with extortion if they tried to threaten or intimidate another person to gain some sort of advantage, whether it is money or to try to keep a victim or witness in a case from pursuing a claim against the defendant or testifying against the defendant at trial.
Louisiana Statute & Examples of Extortion
The Louisiana statute for Extortion is found in La. R.S. 14:66. It states that any one of the following kinds of threats shall be sufficient to constitute extortion:
Threat to do any Unlawful Injury
A threat to do any unlawful injury to the person or property of the individual threatened or of any member of his family or of any other person held dear to him. This is pretty straightforward. If it can be proven that the defendant threatened the victim or his family with physical harm, and the threat was done by the defendant to gain something, that could be extortion. If it was just a threat to injure without the requirement that the victim pay money or provide a benefit to the defendant, then the charge would likely be an assault instead of extortion.
Threat to Accuse of a Crime
A threat to accuse the individual threatened or any member of his family or any other person held dear to him of any crime. It is extortion if the defendant tells the victim that they will call the police and accuse them of breaking the law if the victim doesn’t pay him money or do something for him. It is illegal to get paid off to not turn someone in.
Threat of Deformity or Disgrace
A threat to expose or impute any deformity or disgrace to the individual threatened or to any member of his family or to any other person held dear to him. This scenario usually happens in the social media setting where the defendant will offer not to post a photo or video if the victim pays him off. That is extortion.
Threat of a Secret
A threat to expose any secret affecting the individual threatened or any member of his family or any other person held dear to him. Extortion applies to secrets as well. The defendant cannot threaten to expose a secret if the victim doesn’t pay the defendant or provide a benefit to the defendant.
Threat as Retribution
A threat to cause harm as retribution for participation in any legislative hearing or proceeding, administrative proceeding, or in any other legal action. This applies in the instance where a defendant may threaten someone from testifying at a legal hearing that could end up affecting the defendant’s business or rights. This is seen in the political or business arena. It is illegal for people to threaten lawmakers or others who would testify at a legal proceeding which will result in a ruling or law created or amended.
Threat of Any Harm
A threat to do any other harm. This provision in the Louisiana extortion statute encompasses any other type of harm not contemplated by the legislators when drafting this law.
Penalty for Extortion
The law states that whoever is convicted of extortion shall be imprisoned at hard labor for 1 to 15 years. It is a probatable offense if the judge is willing to order probation. Otherwise, the judge will order a prison sentence. If probation is ordered, the defendant may have to complete community service, rehabilitative counseling/classes, pay probation fees, drug tests, and pay fine/court costs.
In 20% of U.S. states, extortion is reported to be the most common internet crime today.
According to the Louisiana State Legislature, extortion is the communication of threats to another person with the intention of getting something of value, an advantage, or immunity of any description.
Are you a Louisiana resident who’s concerned about a conviction for extortion? The idea of facing these charges can leave you terrified and devastated.
Hiring the right extortion lawyer is the key to disputing these charges and avoiding penalties. Speak to a lawyer immediately to help you learn more about your rights and how to defend them against the charges.
But looking for the best lawyer is no walk in the park. Use the tips below to find the best attorneys for extortion in Louisiana.
5 Things To Know About Hiring an Extortion Lawyer
1) Background and Experience
Before hiring an extortion lawyer, ask about their background and experience as a lawyer. You might get an insight into their professional qualifications by asking where they attended law school and their membership in any professional organizations.
Also, ask about their position in their firm and the period they have been practicing law. You should especially be curious about their experience specific to extortion cases.
The years of experience in handling extortion cases show you how capable a lawyer is in handling your charges. Feel free to discuss similar cases so you can understand what to expect going forward. This is also a good time to ask about the outcomes and success rate of cases similar to yours.
Since you want an attorney respectable in the field, ensure you hire one with a spotless reputation. You should ask and research whether they have had any issues with the American Bar Association for attorney misconduct.
Asking these questions helps you get a sense of how the attorney communicates. It also determines whether you will feel comfortable working with them.
2) Be Ready to Give Your Side of the Story
The evaluation of any case needs everyone’s version of the events – witnesses included. This is why an experienced extortion lawyer will ask you to narrate your side of the story.
Cooperating with your attorney will maximize your chances of success in your legal matter. You will need to provide a statement of the case in which you will explain the details that led to your arrest. Also, you will need to provide a list of character witnesses who can attest to your good conduct as well as a list of potential witnesses who could boost your defense.
You may also need to tell your lawyer about your social history. It allows them to know you better and grants them more credibility in court. They can prove their familiarity with your background.
3) Experience in the Local Courts
When seeking attorneys for extortion, experience is key. To be sure of success, you most certainly don’t want your case handled by a rookie. The attorney you hire should have years of experience in practicing criminal defense, especially in extortion cases.
The attorney should also have significant local experience in the courts. Every court has different staff and procedures may vary. By being familiar with the local court, your lawyer can offer you an added advantage.
They have local knowledge about the court procedures and how the judges and prosecutors operate. Hence, they will help you work through some hurdles.
4) Ratings and Testimonials from Former Clients
You should check reviews of your extortion lawyers on their websites. It may help you find their client testimonials and case results. Experience is satisfying but hearing from previous clients about how a lawyer handled their cases is vital.
Additionally, check review sites such as Yelp to see unbiased clients’ reviews on your potential extortion attorney. You can also check your attorney’s ratings on recognized rating systems for lawyers like Avvo.
Avvo analyzes the information in a lawyer’s profile such as their professional achievements and rates them accordingly. Lawyers are ranked from 1 to 10; with ten being the best rating. These ratings and testimonials will enable you to find the best criminal defense attorney in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and surrounding areas.
5) Attorney Fees
When it comes to extortion attorneys, it’s critical to understand how the charge. Knowing the potential cost of an attorney’s services will ensure that there are no surprises related to expenses.
An attorney being the most expensive does not make them the most qualified for your case. On the other hand, if an attorney quotes a very low fee, you will need to analyze their experience further.
The attorney should be upfront with charges so you know what to expect. Some lawyers are very shrewd and may fail to explain how fees work. As a result, you end up paying more than the initial agreement.
To avoid such scenarios, make sure you have a written and signed contract before hiring the extortion attorney. The agreement for the retainer should spell out the terms of the contract in a clear manner.
Before going into a professional relationship, be sure to discuss a fee schedule and payment plans with your attorney. You should also inquire whether there are any additional costs connected to the case for issues like court costs or expert witnesses.
Find the Best Extortion Attorney in Louisiana
When your freedom is on the line, you need to ensure that you are in reliable hands. It’s critical to get the help of an attorney as soon as you are charged with extortion.
Your lawyer should review your case and determine applicable defenses. They should represent you in court appearances and negotiate a plea deal or a reduction of your charges.
Have you received extortion charges in Louisiana? Look no further! Carl Barkemeyer is an experienced criminal defense attorney serving Baton Rouge, Livingston, Ascension, and surrounding areas in Louisiana.
Besides extortion, he handles all types of misdemeanor and felony charges like assault, DWI/DUI, theft, drug charges, and many others. Get in touch today and let Mr. Barkemeyer handle your extortion case in Louisiana.