What Is the Law on Extortion in North Carolina and What Are the Punishments for It?
Extortion is considered a serious crime in every State in the United States. It is considered extortion when a person wrongfully threatens another with the intention of securing cash, property, goods or services from them in lieu of not carrying out their threat. Extortion typically does not deal with any immediate danger to the victim. Rather, the victim is informed that if they do not carry out certain actions, then the ramifications of that can lead to the person attempting to extort from them, carrying out their threat.
The State of North Carolina distinguishes itself from other States when it comes to cases dealing with extortion. The reason behind this is that extortion is treated differently from cases related to blackmail. North Carolina has made statutes that clearly demarcate between blackmail and extortion, but the punishments meted out for either crime are both severe and can lead to time spent in jail.
What Is the Difference between Blackmail and Extortion in the State of North Carolina?
The intent is the primary differentiating factor when it comes to determining whether a case is related to blackmail, or extortion, in the State of North Carolina. When the person who is attempting to extort the money, does so fully intending to obtain illegal services or goods from the person they are threatening, then it is considered as extortion. What this means is that the State of North Carolina recognizes not the act of threatening itself, but the act of illegally obtaining resources through illegal and manipulative means as extortion.
Blackmail is when the person knowingly sends threatening communication to a person with the intent to harm them, should the victim not listen to the blackmailer. The clear difference between these two cases lies in the behavior and the expected results that the defendant is hoping to obtain. If the primary goal was to threaten and the intent behind their actions was to damage or harm another person's reputation, livelihood or lifestyle by threatening to expose them, among other tactics, it is blackmail. But when the intention behind the crime was to secure resources illegally through the act of threatening, it is considered extortion.
What Are the Punishments for Extortion in the State of North Carolina?
Extortion is primarily a property crime and in order for a case to be considered as extortion, the prosecution needs to prove that the defendant's intention was to illegally secure property, money, services or good from their victim.
Extortion is treated as a Class F Felony in the State of North Carolina. This is different from blackmail, where the crime is considered a Class 1 Misdemeanor. If the person is charged with blackmail, then they will have to spend between one to 120 days in prison as punishment for their actions.
However, if the case is deemed to be extortion, then the punishment is far more severe. A person charged with extortion faces between 10-41 months in prison. The actual amount of time they will spend is also dependent on whether they have prior convictions or not. A person who has no prior convictions can get away with serving intermediary punishment, however the same cannot be said for a person who has priors. Similarly, if the person has more than one prior, then the punishments they receive for their actions can also be more severe.
Extortion essentially is a crime involving one person who illegally attempts to obtain property that belongs to another person. Such an attempt is not restricted to physical threats, meetings or transactions but also include threats and communications made online, through social media platforms, emails or traditional mails, etc.