Blackmail is a serious crime in Mississippi. In a legal context, the term “blackmail” is used interchangeably with the term “extortion” across the United States. If you have been accused of this crime, you face significant penalties. When you gain a better understanding of this crime and how it is handled in the state of Mississippi, you can approach your defense with confidence.
Of course, your best option is to consult with a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. With a skilled attorney by your side, you can fight for your rights more effectively, and you may be able to avoid significant legal consequences. A skilled defense lawyer can employ a range of strategies and tactics to help you avoid fines, jail time, and other notable penalties.
What is Extortion?
According to Mississippi law, a person is guilty of extortion when they “purposely obtain or attempt to obtain property of another or any reward, favor, or advantage of any kind by threatening to inflict bodily injury on any person or by committing or threatening to commit any other criminal offense.”
You are also guilty of extortion if you threaten to commit a violation of a civil statute or threaten to release private information to the public “for the purpose of humiliating or embarrassing the other person.”
Putting complex legal terminology aside, there are a number of possible examples of blackmail and extortion. Someone might discover a company’s secrets and threaten to release them unless they were paid off. A gang might threaten to burn someone’s business down unless they paid them a weekly fee. Someone in a position of power might threaten to harm a spouse unless the other spouse followed their orders. The possibilities are nearly endless.
What is “Sextortion?”
“Sextortion” refers to blackmail of a sexual nature. For example, someone might threaten to commit some kind of criminal offense or release humiliating information unless the other person agreed to perform sex acts. Alternatively, someone could threaten to release sexually compromising or intimate images of someone unless they agreed to pay a certain amount of money.
At first glance, it might seem like these instances are already covered in the wording of the aforementioned extortion law. After all, words like “favor,” “advantage,” and “private information” can easily apply to matters of a sexual nature. Just to be sure, Mississippi lawmakers went one step further in 2019 and passed a “Revenge Porn” bill that further criminalizes these acts.
What are the Penalties for Blackmail?
If you were blackmailing someone with the goal of receiving less than $500, you face a misdemeanor with a maximum jail sentence of six months. If you were trying to receive more than $500, you face a felony charge with a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. If you were a public official who was trying to receive any type of reward through blackmail or extortion, you face a felony charge with a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
If you have been searching Mississippi for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney, look no further than Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. Thanks to a wealth of experience with a wide range of criminal cases, Vic Carmody Jr. can help you approach this situation in the most effective way possible. Reach out today, and we can help you protect your reputation and your freedom.