Theft by extortion is a very distinct form of theft crime, as it involves a threat or coercive component that differentiates it from other forms of theft. The threat that is used to coerce another into transferring his or her property can involve: bodily harm, restraint, or the commission of a crime; a threat to file charges; a threat to disclose a secret; a threat by public official to withhold action; a threat of strike or boycott; a threat of testimony; or a threat to inflict harm upon another. The underlying nature of the offense remains consistent, however, and as a result, all crimes for theft by extortion are considered extremely serious by New Jersey prosecutors. Under New Jersey Law, those charged with theft by extortion may be sentenced to serve up to ten years in New Jersey State Prison, in addition to crippling fines and restitution payments to the victim(s).
Considering the overwhelming potential consequences of these accusations, the help of a distinguished legal representative can serve as an indispensable asset throughout your case. At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our uniquely qualified team of former county and municipal prosecutors and award-winning defense attorneys is committed to providing the best possible defense representation to our clients in court rooms across the state. With over 100 years of combined experience, we have successfully defended countless clients accused of theft crimes in Somerset and Hunterdon counties and throughout New Jersey. With our support and guidance, you can rest assured that your rights and your interests will be thoroughly protected from beginning to end. To discuss your pending criminal matter with a member of our seasoned criminal trial team at no cost, contact our offices anytime at 908-722-1011.
Theft by Extortion in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:20-5
According to N.J.S.A. 2C:20-5, a person is guilty of theft by extortion if he purposely and unlawfully obtains the property of another by extortion. A person extorts if he purposely threatens to:
- Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
- Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
- Expose or publicize any secret or any asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;
- Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
- Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
- Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
- Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.
Contact our Warren NJ Theft by Extortion Lawyers for Immediate Assistance
As mentioned previously, theft by extortion is always graded as a second degree crime, which is punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 5 to 10 in New Jersey State Prison. In contrast to lesser third degree crimes, second degree crimes entail a presumption of incarceration, which means that even first-time offenders with no prior criminal record must be sentenced to a term in prison.
It is also important to note that although theft by extortion is a similar offense to criminal coercion, the purpose of the threat that underlies each of these offenses is different. A violation of the criminal coercion statute, which can be found in section N.J.S.A. 2C:13-5, is intended to restrict the freedom of another person. On the other hand, in order to prove a theft by extortion charge, the State must establish that the threatening behavior was intended to deprive another person of some form of property. Understanding the nuances of these charges is essential to constructing an effective defense strategy.
For additional information and a free consultation with a member of our experienced criminal defense team, contact the law offices of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall at 908-722-1011.