How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Joseph Your Own Question
Joseph, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 7280
Experience:  I have 15 years experience in the legal field, currently specializing in criminal and family law
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Joseph is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Can my contracter be charged with extortion? Here are the

This answer was rated:

Can my contracter be charged with extortion? Here are the details. I am planning to build an addition behind my house and had 3 contracters give me bids for the footings and concrete work. I went with the one that was $1,000 less since I considered it a good savings in an area of work that should not take extensive skill and when done it is all underground. When the contracter came to start his work he demanded just over 1/2 down which was $6,000 dollars. I paid him and he went to work for about 3 hours. he came back a couple days later and worked about another 3 hours at a very slow pace. and didn't show up for several days. When I called he would not answer and a week later he said he had some problems with his wife having a heart attack and another time she had surgery and the excuses just went on for a couple weeks. In that time a city inspecter came to my house and asked what was going on in my back yard. I told him we were doing some ground work for an eventual addition but the contracter has not been around. He called the contracter and told him he would need a permit. I had to get back to my job and the inspecter left but I called the contracter later that afternoon. The contracter told me that I did not get a permit so he could not do the job. I told him that he was to get all permits as we discussed before starting the job. He would not listen and told me he would now need another $6,000 up front before he could do the job. I told him he allready had $6,000 and the rest was to be paid at completion. He said it was my responsability to obtain a permit so now he would need additional money. Even though he was to get the permit, I decided to draw up the plan that evening and take it to the city for approval. It was approved so I called the contracter and told him that I have the permit and that he needed to get over to my house and finish.

In my opinion, it is unlikely that the contractor would be arrested and charged with extortion. As I see it, there are a couple of problems with such a prosecution.


First, extortion requires an intent to obtain money or services from another person through coercion. Here, the contractor could easily state that the job became more expensive for whatever reason. Assuming this to be accurate, it would be extremely difficult to prove otherwise.


Another problem is that law enforcement would likely consider this civil, not criminal, and not make an arrest. One could easily argue that this clearly could be handled in civil court as there is a contract between you and the contractor and he appears to be in breach of that contract. For these reasons, I suspect that law enforcement would be unwilling to consider this to be criminal in nature and would not consider it to be extortion.


Please let me know if anything requires clarification.
I hope you found my answer helpful. If so, please click on a positive rating for my answer. This is necessary for me to be paid for my work and so that I can get credit for assisting you. Even if you are a subscription member, you will need to provide a positive rating. Your question will not close, and you will still have the opportunity to follow-up if needed. Leaving a bonus and positive feedback is not required, but doing so is certainly appreciated! Thank you and good luck!


Also, several customers have asked how they may direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to assist you in your legal matter, just put "FOR JOSEPH" in the subject line and I will gladly pick up the question as soon as I am on-line.

Joseph and 8 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you

Related Legal Questions