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Intimidation and Extortion Crimes

Cook County Intimidation and Extortion Defense Lawyer

Intimidation and extortion are related offenses that involve threats to another to obtain something or cause the other person to perform or omit to perform an act. Both charges carry the potential for serious penalties, including a felony conviction on your record, years in prison, fines, and more. Extortion or intimidation, and related charges like blackmail, can be charged in state or federal court. Anyone facing an intimidation or extortion charge will need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect their legal rights and fight for their continued freedom.

Defining Intimidation in Illinois

The crime of Intimidation in Illinois is charged under 720 ILCS 5/12-6. Under this statute, a person commits the crime of intimidation when, with the intent to cause another person to perform or omit to perform any act, he or she communicates to another, either directly or indirectly, a threat to perform any of the following acts:

  1. Inflict physical harm on the person threatened or any other person or property; or

  2. Subject anyone to physical confinement or restraint; or

  3. Commit a felony or Class A misdemeanor; or

  4. Accuse any person of an offense; or

  5. Expose another person to hatred, ridicule, or contempt; or

  6. Take action as a public official against anyone, or withhold action, or cause such action or withholding; or

  7. Bring about or continue a boycott, strike, or collective action.

A conviction for the crime of intimidation does not require that the defendant follow through with the threat. Rather, it is sufficient that the defendant made the threat to the victim for a conviction to stand.

Aggravated intimidation is a related, heightened offense. A person commits the crime of aggravated intimidation under 720 ILCS 5/12-6.2 when he or she commits intimidation and:

  1. The person committed the crime in furtherance of gang activities;

  2. The offense is committed with intent to prevent a person from becoming a community policing volunteer; or

  3. Any of the following: the person knew the victim was a peace officer, correctional officer, fireman, community policing volunteer or the offense was committed in relation to the defendant’s official duties or to prevent the victim from performing official duties.

Punishment for Intimidation in Illinois

A conviction for intimidation in Illinois is a Class 3 felony. Those convicted of this crime will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than ten years. Along with a prison term, an intimidation conviction will result in a felony record. Your criminal record is visible to potential employers, landlords, the military, and more. It can have significant consequences for your future. An intimidation conviction may also be accompanied by fines of up to $25,000.

Aggravated intimidation related to gang activity in Chicago is a Class 1 felony. This is one of the most severe offenses under Illinois law. A Class 1 felony is punished by a minimum of four years in prison and a maximum of 15 years. The defendant also faces up to $25,000 in fines. All other forms of aggravated intimidation are charged as a Class 2 felony, punishable by a minimum of three years in prison and a maximum of seven years, along with fines of up to $25,000.

Defining Extortion in Illinois

Extortion can be charged as a theft offense under Illinois law. Extortion occurs when a person, through threats, obtains the property of another. The offense is defined under 720 ILCS 5/16-1. Under the statute, a person commits theft by extortion when he or she knowingly obtains by threat control over property of the owner.

Punishment for Extortion in Illinois

Extortion charged as a theft offense in Chicago and Illinois will be punished by the amount of money or value of property stolen and other circumstances surrounding the offense. Punishments range from a Class A misdemeanor, which involves up to one year in prison and fines of up to $2,500, all the way to a Class X felony, which is punishable by up a minimum of six years in jail and a maximum of 30, along with a $25,000 fine.

Related Federal Offenses

There are several felony federal offenses related to the crimes of intimidation and extortion. Blackmail is one such crime. Blackmail is a criminal offense that involves the defendant demanding or receiving money or anything of value as a consequence for not informing third parties about information in question. Blackmail laws are intended to protect individuals, especially those in power, from exuding undue influence on third parties. This crime will be charged federally when interstate communication was involved in the threat or the defendant allegedly sought to yield influence over political matters.

The federal crime of blackmail is generally punishable by up to a year in prison along with substantial fines. Aggravating factors can raise the minimum sentence. Additionally, blackmail is often charged in connection with the federal offense of extortion, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Defense Against Intimidation, Extortion, and Related Charges

The crimes of intimidation, extortion, and related federal charges are serious and demand the strongest representation possible to protect your legal rights. These charges are often complex and may rely heavily upon statements from the victim. Your precise defense will depend on the circumstances surrounding the charge.

At times, intimidation or extortion charges may stem from misstatements of the victim. Threats can be hard to define and, at times, valid attempts to obtain payment for monies owed can be falsely construed as a threat. An experienced criminal defense attorney will investigate the facts surrounding the case, interview witnesses, and closely analyze the evidence to mount your strongest possible defense. At times, your attorney will attempt to have charges without an adequate legal basis dismissed. In other cases, your best option will be seeking a favorable plea bargain. When necessary, your case may go all the way to trial, where your knowledgeable defense attorney will attack the prosecution’s case and present evidence in your support.

Illinois prosecutors and federal prosecutors within Cook County seek to prosecute crimes like intimidation and extortion to the fullest extent. Laws against intimidation and extortion are intended to protect the victims of such behavior, who may be compelled to turn over property or feel afraid due to threats. However, wrongful convictions can result from false testimony or overzealous prosecution. Arm yourself with a skilled criminal defense attorney who can help you to obtain the best legal outcome.

Contact Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney David L. Freidberg Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

The crime of intimidation is a serious one, and anyone facing this charge will require the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney David L. Freidberg has assisted hundreds of defendants facing felony charges across the state. We provide experienced and skilled representation that will provide you with the strongest defense possible. We understand the grave consequences you face if confronted with a felony or misdemeanor charge. Our attorney team is dedicated to fighting for your best legal outcome. Call The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 or contact us online to schedule your free consultations. We are available 24/7 to serve your needs.