Extortion in Arizona (A.R.S. §13-1804)
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Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona, per A.R.S. §13-1804 “Extortion” occurs by knowingly obtaining or seeking to obtain property or services by means of a future threat to: cause physical injury by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or some other manner; cause damage to property; engage in other conduct constituting a criminal offense; accuse anyone of a crime or bring criminal charges against anyone; expose a secret or asserted fact (whether true or false) tending to subject anyone to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, or to impair the person’s credit or business; take or withhold action as a public servant or cause a public servant to take or withhold action; or cause anyone to part with any property.
There are some statutory defenses to Extortion which will be discussed in the “Possible Defenses” section.
Contact David Michael Cantor if you have been charged or suspected of Extortion. Call our offices 24 hours a day at (602) 307-0808 for a Free Consultation.
Possible Punishment for Extortion
If the Extortion occurred by the defendant threatening to use a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, but the defendant not actually follow through with the threat (such as threatening over the phone), it is charged as a class two (2) non-dangerous felony. The first offense punishment here is anywhere from probation with zero (0) days in jail up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of three (3) years to twelve and one half (12.5) years of incarceration. If the person has one (1) historical allegeable prior conviction, then the “prison only” range is four and one half (4.5) years to twenty-three and one quarter (23.25) years of incarceration. If the person has two (2) historical allegeable prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is ten and one half (10.5) years to thirty-five (35) years of incarceration.
If the person actually used a deadly weapon in the victim’s presence (either pointing it at them or discharging it or stabbing someone), then they are facing a “dangerous offense” which carries “prison only” punishment. The mandatory minimum for a first offense for Extortion is seven (7) years incarceration, the presumptive is ten and one half (10.5) years incarceration, and the maximum is twenty-one (21) years of incarceration. If the person has one (1) historical allegeable dangerous prior conviction, then the “prison only” range is fourteen (14) years minimum, fifteen and three quarters (15.75) years presumptive, and twenty-eight (28) years of prison maximum. If the person has two (2) historical allegeable dangerous prior convictions, then the minimum is twenty-one (21) years of prison, the presumptive is twenty-eight (28) years, and the maximum is thirty-five (35) years of incarceration.
If the person only threatened to use the deadly weapon and did not actually display it (such as threatening over the phone).
In all other cases, Extortion will be charged as a class four (4) felony. A first offense punishment on a class four (4) felony is anywhere from probation with zero (0) days up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of one (1) year to three and three quarters (3.75) years of incarceration. If the person has one (1) historical allegeable prior conviction, then the “prison only” range is two and one quarter (2.25) years to seven and one half (7.5) years of incarceration. If the person has two (2) historical allegeable prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is six (6) years to fifteen (15) years of incarceration.
Possible Defenses for Extortion
By statute, it is a defense to some extortion charges that the threat by the defendant was made in order to obtain property to which the defendant had a “lawful claim” as to either restitution or indemnification for harm done to him under circumstances to which the threat relates. Also, it is a defense to extortion in some circumstances when the threat was made in order to gain compensation for property that was lawfully obtained or for lawful services rendered by the defendant. In other words, you can threaten to expose somebody for a crime, some other type of unethical business behavior, or to withhold action as a public servant if you are have a “lawful claim” to the property demanded and the threat relates to that lawful claim. For example, if your neighbor was not returning your lawnmower and you told him that you would call the police and have him charged with a crime of theft unless he promptly returns the lawnmower, you would not be charged with Extortion because lawfully that is your lawnmower, and the threat relates to the lawnmower. It is important to analyze all aspects of the alleged Extortion claim to show that the defendant was acting within their rights in order to lawfully obtain their own property or to assert some other type of lawful claim.
Additionally, because our law firm fights conviction from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda rights violation.” In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, the “denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues. Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding fingerprints analysis; computer analysis/cloning hard drive procedures; forensic financial accounting reviews; voice recognition devices; surveillance footage; etc.. Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Extortion lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case.
It is important to hire an AV® rated law firm (the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®). Also David Michael Cantor is an Arizona Extortion Defense Attorney and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. In addition, the Firm and all of its lawyers are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®. At DM Cantor, the majority of our Attorneys are ex-Prosecutors, and all of our Arizona Extortion Defense Attorneys know the system well. For a free initial consultation, call us at 602-307-0808.
Contact DM Cantor and speak to an Arizona Extortion Defense Attorney. We will assist you with your Extortion case.