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Orange County 714-294-2000
Los Angeles 310-873-8140
Detroit 313-888-8807
Nationwide 888-452-2503

Blackmail and Extortion

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Dedicated Blackmail & Extortion Defense Lawyers

Under 18 U.S.C. § 876, certain types of Extortion are punishable by imprisonment of up to 2 years.

Blackmail and extortion are related crimes that involve the use of threats in order to coerce someone into doing something they are not legally required to do. While laws against blackmail and coercion are nothing new, in recent years, new and existing blackmail and extortion laws have been applied with increasing frequency to online threats and the use of computer networks in order to obtain potentially-damaging private information. Today, online blackmail and extortion are serious offenses that are high on state and federal law enforcement radars, and they carry serious, life-changing sentences for those who get convicted in court.

At the Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP, we provide experienced, aggressive representation for individuals charged with online blackmail and extortion. We handle more traditional blackmail and extortion cases as well. Our attorneys have successfully represented hundreds of clients, and our backgrounds as former prosecutors, experienced criminal defense lawyers, and forensic fraud examiners make us uniquely positioned to handle federal computer-related offenses. If you have been arrested or are being investigated for alleged blackmail or extortion, we will fight vigorously to have your charges dismissed.

Blackmail and Extortion Explained


If you have been charged with blackmail, the government is accusing you of making a threat in order to force someone to meet your demands against their will. While most cases of blackmail are financially motivated, threatening someone in order to obtain illicit photographs or sensitive information can lead to blackmail charges as well. State and federal blackmail charges are not specific as to the means or motivation, but rather focus solely on the act of attempting to coerce someone against their will.

Threats that can lead to blackmail charges include:

  • To reveal personal, private information that would cause embarrassment if made public
  • To reveal personal, private information in order to cause financial harm
  • To report someone’s involvement in a crime
  • To falsely accuse someone of a crime

In order to constitute blackmail, the information threatened to be disclosed does not have to be true. In addition, you do not need to be successful in obtaining your desired outcome in order to be charged. Blackmail statutes are broad, and they allow prosecutors to seek severe punishment under a wide variety of circumstances.


While blackmail statutes focus on threats relating to information, extortion laws provide criminal punishment for threatening to cause physical harm or destroy someone’s property. State and federal extortion statutes cover threats intended to coerce victims to:

  • Pay money
  • Provide drugs
  • Discharge a debt
  • Agree not to compete in a business
  • Perform sexual acts
  • Commit a crime
  • Perform other acts or provide other goods or services

Like blackmail, an extortion attempt does not need to be successful in order to constitute a crime. Extortion statutes focus on the act of making the threat – so once the threat has been made, you can face conviction even if nothing materializes from the attempted extortion.

Defending Against Blackmail and Extortion Charges

The attorneys at Oberheiden & McMurrey, LLP are dedicated to helping clients obtain the best possible results following an arrest or criminal investigation. When we take your case, our top priority is to help you avoid prosecution and having your charges dismissed. In order to do this, we work with you to understand what happened – better than the prosecution – and craft arguments that leave the government with no choice but to drop their charges. If the prosecutor believes they have strong evidence and decide to take your case to trial, we will do everything within our power to help you avoid conviction and minimize the consequences of your arrest.

Penalties for Blackmail and Extortion

The penalties for online blackmail and extortion vary widely depending on the specific offense with which you are charged. However, generally speaking, if you have been charged with blackmail or extortion, you can expect to be facing substantial prison time, as well as fines and restitution. Minor offenses may be charged as misdemeanors carrying lesser jail sentences or possibly even probation. However, in any case, a blackmail or extortion conviction is a serious mark on your criminal record that can have life-changing consequences.

Speak with a National Blackmail and Extortion Defense Lawyer about Your Case

We offer free, confidential consultations with absolutely no obligation to you. To discuss your online blackmail or extortion charges with one of our experienced blackmail and extortion defense attorneys, contact our law offices at (888) 727-5154. We also practice other areas of law in which we offer criminal defense services, request a free case evaluation today.

Texas 214-469-9009
Orange County 714-294-2000
Los Angeles 310-873-8140
Detroit 313-888-8807
Nationwide 888-452-2503