Fair Haven NJ Theft by Extortion Defense Attorneys
Unlike many theft crimes such as shoplifting, theft of movable property, and theft by deception, theft by extortion is always considered a second degree indictable felony in New Jersey. Similar to robbery, theft by extortion integrates a threat of some kind, whether the threat is to inflict physical harm, disclose confidential information, file charges, or commit another crime. Theft by extortion is commonly referred to as “blackmail,” which is why these cases often involve public officials. Regardless of the circumstances of the given case, the State must establish that you threatened a person as a means by which to obtain their property in order to effectively prove this charge in a court of law.
Although theft by extortion and criminal coercion intersect in the manner in which they are committed, criminal coercion is considered a separate offense, governed by section N.J.S.A. 2C:13-5 of the New Jersey Criminal Code. Criminal coercion is intended to restrict the freedom of another person, while theft by extortion uses coercion to extract property that is not lawfully yours. Understanding the differences between various crimes is critical when constructing your defense strategy. Fortunately, a knowledgeable defense attorney can provide you with the understanding that you need, while crafting an effective case to exonerate you.
The attorneys at Chamlin, Rosen, Uliano & Witherington have been zealously advocating for clients accused of theft crimes in Fair Haven, Tinton Falls, Wall Township, West Long Branch, Freehold, and elsewhere in Monmouth County since the firm opened its door over 50 years ago. Our criminal department is led by former Monmouth County Prosecutor Charles J. Uliano, who is also certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney. Mr. Uliano and his team have handled the most serious of cases on both the state and federal level, garnering a reputation for excellence among fellow legal professionals and the community at large. With extensive experience and resources at our fingertips, we are thoroughly prepared to assist you during this highly stressful time. Contact our Asbury Park or West Long Branch offices anytime at 732-440-3950 or call toll free at 888-328-9131 for additional information.
Theft by Extortion in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:20-5
Section N.J.S.A. 2C:20-5 of the New Jersey Criminal Code outlines crimes that constitute theft by extortion, explaining that 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:
a. Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
b. Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
c. 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;
d. Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
e. 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;
f. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
g. Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.
Penalties for Theft by Extortion in New Jersey
As stated previously, theft by extortion is graded differently than other theft crimes, in that the degree of the charge is not contingent upon the value of the property that is allegedly stolen. In fact, theft by extortion is always considered a second degree indictable felony, which is punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison. It is also important to note that second degree crimes entail a presumption of incarceration in New Jersey, which requires the imposition of a prison sentence even if the defendant has no prior criminal record. In other words, a conviction for theft by extortion will more likely than not result in prison time. These crimes are also punishable by a fine of up to $100,000, with the specific amount determined at the discretion of the presiding judge. The last important facet of a theft by extortion charge is sentencing subject to the provisions of New Jersey’s No Early Release Act, which requires a defendant to serve 85% of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for parole. Considering this, the minimum term of imprisonment for a person convicted of this crime is 5 years, 3 of which are mandatory before parole eligibility.
Monmouth County NJ Theft by Extortion Lawyers for Answers
Shattering your reputation, your professional life, your relationships with family and friends–clearly, the repercussions of a conviction for theft by extortion can be catastrophic. However, our criminal defense lawyers have been protecting the interests of Monmouth County residents and their families for decades. We utilize our experience prosecuting and defending high-profile cases, where lives are truly on the line, to build the most compelling cases in defense of our clients. To speak with a member of our distinguished legal team today, contact our Monmouth County offices at 732-440-3950. The adjudication process can be infinitely less daunting with a team of our caliber on your side.