Blackmail and Extortion

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If you are being accused of either blackmail or extortion, seek out expert legal advice from DPP Law today. Our blackmail and extortion solicitors can examine all evidence, including correspondence with the alleged victim. We will provide you with legal support and advice throughout proceedings, and will help you to build the strongest possible case for your defence.

Blackmail is the act of demanding something, often money, from someone, and threatening to expose sensitive, embarrassing or incriminating information about them if they do not comply with these demands. It’s important to remember that the threat does not have to be illegal, or even true, for it to be considered blackmail.

Extortion, on the other hand, refers to the act of making a threat of violence, harm, or destruction of property to coerce a victim into complying with demands.

Extortion vs Blackmail

Few people are aware of the distinction between blackmail and extortion and the implications of extortion and blackmail accusations. The Theft Act 1968 refers to blackmail as the making of any unwarranted demands with menaces by a person with the intention of gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to another.

“Menaces” refers to a high degree of coercion – so “demanding money with menaces” refers to a person threatening to do something the victim would not wish them to do if payment is not made.

If blackmail solicitors are able to argue that the demands were made on reasonable grounds and that the threat is a relevant way of ensuring that the demands are met, a defendant may be acquitted.

Extortion, on the other hand, is described as the use of threats of physical harm against another for the purposes of obtaining money, property or services.

Offences Related to Blackmail and Extortion

Under the same legislation as blackmail and extortion, you may also be accused of:

  • Demanding money with menaces
  • Kidnap
  • Involvement in a protection racket
  • Making threats to kill or harm

Blackmail and Extortion: Frequently Asked Questions

Read on to find answers to commonly asked questions.

What is blackmail?

This term refers to the making of unwarranted demands of another individual along with threats that if they do not comply, the blackmailer will undertake an act against the victim’s wishes. In England and Wales, blackmail is any act where property or money is coerced from a person through unwarranted demand or menaces — including physical threats.

Under Scots Law, blackmail is where one party demands property, money, or some advantage under threat of harm. Importantly, under Scots Law, the legitimacy of the item is not the cause of illegality. For example, a party can owe a blackmailer money legitimately; as long as there is a threat, it is still extortion.

Is Blackmail Illegal?

Yes. Blackmail is a very serious crime under UK law, contrary to Section 21 of the Theft Act 1968.

What is the difference between blackmail and extortion?

Extortion and blackmail describe two different acts, although extortion sentencing guidelines are the same as those for blackmail. The distinction lies in the fact that extortion involves threats of physical violence or destruction against a victim or another individual while blackmail does not.

What is the Most Common Form of Extortion?

Robbery is an extremely common form of extortion. In this form situation, party 1 (the robber) threatens party 2 (the victim) with violence if they do not hand over money. 

What Qualifies as Blackmail?

In order for a person to be criminal guilty of blackmail, they must have: 

  • Made a demand;
  • With menaces;
  • That the demand was unwarranted; or
  • That the defendant has a view to make a gain for himself or another or have intent to cause a loss to another.

What is the punishment for extortion and blackmail?

Extortion sentencing guidelines list the maximum sentence for this offence as 14 years in prison, and the most severe blackmail sentence is the same. Due to the considerable severity of these penalties, seeking out blackmail and extortion solicitors as soon as you are accused is vital.

DPP Law’s experienced solicitors can help

The criminal defence solicitors at DPP Law have more than 30 years’ worth of experience in providing blackmail and extortion legal advice.

Contact us today so we can decide the next course of action and take the steps to absolve any allegations.

Our criminal defence solicitors can defend you if you have been accused of any of the below criminal offences:

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