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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23159
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Can I go to jail for blackmail on an email I send I send

Resolved Question:

Can I go to jail for blackmail on an email I send? I send an apology right after that though, saying I didn't mean it. See I got fired after complaining to HR about harrassement and this other guy was sexually harassing me and I threatened to expose him if he didn't send me a check because I need money.Please advise I am nervous now.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.

The threat would make out extortion (blackmail) under North Carolina law:

14-118.4 Extortion.

Any person who threatens or communicates a threat or threats to another with the intention thereby wrongfully to obtain anything of value or any acquittance, advantage, or immunity is guilty of extortion and such person shall be punished as a Class F felon. A class F felony can get you 6 years of prison.

You sent an apology right after the threat, and what you ought to do is leave this and this person alone. Do not keep contacting him or keep apologizing to him or you could end up making matters worse for yourself. If the police contact you, do not talk to them about this matter without first hiring a criminal lawyer.

With any luck the person you sent the email to will just believe you were stressed and upset and accept your apology and think no more about it.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I am not a bad person and know it was wrong right after I sent it. I am so scared now nad want to know will the police come to my home to arrest me? I sent an apology right after because I felt badly and knew it sounded wrong and it was wrong. I profusley apologized to him saying I was just afraid I was going to lose everything on only $113 a from week from unemployment. I take care of my two elderly and ailing parents and they need me I can't go to prison I am shaking so bad now and I was just upset because I was so wronged by them. Please advise.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.

Unfortunately, you can't unsay what you said. You apologized profusely and you have to hope for the best, XXXXX XXXXX that what you did doesn't make him as scared about what you'll do as you are as scared of what he'll do right now.

You should get the name of a local criminal lawyer just in case. Extortion is an intent crime. It's not just saying the words. You have to say them with the intention of making a threat to get something you're not otherwise in any way entitled to. If you were ever charged with this offense, the state would have to believe that you had the intent to commit a crime. So a defense could be that you just spoke out of fear and frustration and that as soon as you realized that what you'd written could be taken another way, you immediately wrote to him to assure him you didn't mean it.

I can't tell you not to worry about this, but I can tell you that it doesn't pay to dwell on it. The longer you go without any news of this the better.

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