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Blackmail Laws

What is blackmail?

Blackmail is a crime involving threats to revel a true or false statement about an individual to the public, family, or co-workers unless a certain demand is met. Sometimes blackmail can be defined as coercion that involves physical harm, threats of criminal prosecution, or threats that involve taking a person’s money or property. Blackmail has been used as a way to referring to other offenses or crimes and was not a term used in English Law before 1968. Blackmail may also be defined as a form of extortion, although the two are synonymous, extortion is the taking of personal property by threatening future harm. Using threats to prevent another person from engaging in a lawful occupation and writing libelous letters or letters that most generally provoke a breach of the peace, as well as the use of intimidating means for the purpose to collect an unpaid debt, is considered blackmail. Some of the states tell the two apart by requiring that the blackmail be in writing. For more information on blackmail and the penalties for blackmail, contact the Experts.

In the state of Michigan, can sexual favors be considered a thing of value when it comes to blackmail?

Although there is no criminal case in the state of Michigan that says that sex is a thing of value, making a person commit sexual acts or have sex through the threat or intimidation can not only be considered blackmail but would also be considered rape. Not always is blackmail necessarily something of monetary value.

Can a person be charged with blackmail in this case?

Case Details: The person told a fellow employee that he/she was going to go to the authorities with information of illegal activities if the employer fired him/her?

If the person never said anything directly to the employer, then in most cases this would not be considered as blackmail, but more along the lines of gossip. The person was venting frustration to a fellow employee and never intended on the employee to go back and report to the employer what was said. Without the knowledge that the fellow employee was going to report back to the employer what was said in a privet conversation, there would most likely be no intent to blackmail the employer here.

Would this be considered blackmail or extortion in the state of Florida?

Case Details: A person tells another person that if he/she does not repay money owed, then personal information would be released.

According to the Florida statute 836.05 Threats; extortion.

“Whoever, either verbally or by a written or printed communication, maliciously threatens to accuse another of any crime or offense, or by such communication maliciously threatens an injury to the person, property or reputation of another, or maliciously threatens to expose another to disgrace, or to expose any secret affecting another, or to impute any deformity or lack of chastity to another, with intent thereby to extort money or any pecuniary advantage whatsoever, or with intent to compel the person so threatened, or any other person, to do any act or refrain from doing any act against his or her will, shall be guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.”

If the person owes him/her more than $5000, the limit for a small claims suit, then he/she should get an attorney to send a letter stating that if the money is not repaid, then a civil suit will be filed. If the money owed is $5000 or less then the person can file a small claims suit.

Can you be prosecuted for trying to blackmail an employer with threats of exposing the illegal activity of the employer?

Case Details: Location -- State of Wisconsin.

If the employee threatens the employer with harm to him/her or to his/her family or his/her reputation, and the employee is looking to force the employer to do or not do something against his/her will with the result of gaining money or property from the employer, would be considered extortion/blackmail in the state of Wisconsin. This is considered a theft offense, and the value of whatever the employee is asking for will determine how serious the crime will be considered. The employee can be prosecuted for this if the employer decides to risk criminal charges for his/her illegal activities and presses charges against the employee.

Blackmail and extortion is very closely related and in most states are considered one and the same. If a person is unsure as to whether or not the actions are blackmail, he/she would need to seek the advice of an Expert to know how to proceed.

Ask a Criminal Lawyer

Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 2456
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
7286322
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Criminal Lawyers are online & ready to help you now

Fran L.
JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Satisfied Customers: 8061
18 yrs of NYC public defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Counselor at Law
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Lawyer
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Over 10 years of criminal defense practice.

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