What is the Law on Extortion in Connecticut and What are the Punishments for it?
Extortion is clubbed along with larceny or robbery in the state of Connecticut, as both are a form of thievery. Extortion is described as the act of making an individual do the bidding of the blackmailer even when it is against their direct wishes, under a threat of some kind. This threat could be either material or societal.
- Material threats include holding someone's property at ransom, withholding their tangible possessions from them, and forcibly taking their property from them.
- Societal threats include threatening to publicize the person's shameful secret, falsely accusing them of a crime that they did not commit, and damage the person's reputation in some other way.
Immediate Execution of Threat
In the state of Connecticut, immediate execution of the threat is not required in order to determine that a person was actually blackmailed or extorted by another. Evidence of a text message, a phone call, or a voice message would be enough proof, especially if it has been recorded and given to the court. The blackmailer need not have the present ability to carry out the threat, in order for the crime to be termed as a case of extortion.
Sometimes, the threat may be based on a remote future, that is, on the condition that the blackmailer and the individual may meet in the future. In such a scenario, the threat is not determined to be important or sufficient for a trial, as the threat will be based on "imminent" physical harm and not actual. In addition to this, the threat is also nullified as it is based on a remote possibility in the future- if the blackmailer and his victim ever meet.
Kinds of Extortion
There are two categories of extortion in the state of Connecticut- first degree and second-degree extortion. The two kinds are separated according to the threat that is involved, the kind of ransom, which is held over the victim, and the scope of the extortion. The two kinds of extortion include:
First Degree: Also known as "terrorist threats", extortion in the first degree consists of the following practice:
- Using a hazardous substance in order to threaten or blackmail a victim.
- Using their power in the city or state council in order to excavate a building or any other public place.
- Threaten to commit a nuisance in a public place, or commit any other action which would cause significant unrest in a public place.
Second Degree: Extortion in the second degree is on a more personal level, in which there can be significant harm which is brought about to the person concerned. Extortion in the second degree consists of the following acts:
- Deliberately putting the victim in the line of personal injury, or threatening to harm them in one form or another.
- Threatening to physically harm either the victim or someone from their family, in order to terrorize them enough to do the blackmailer's bidding.
- Issuing such threats which will knowingly cause stress, panic, or terror in the victim and/or their family.
Punishment for Extortion in Connecticut
First Degree: The punishment for extortion in the first degree is classified as a Class D Felony, which awards the convict with 1 to 5 years in prison, a fine of $5000, or both, depending on the crime.
Second degree: The punishment for extortion in the second degree is classified as a Class A Misdemeanor. This gives the convict a maximum of a year in jail, a fine amounting to $2000, or both, depending on the severity of the threat and extortion that were carried out.