When you face criminal charges related to extortion, or you have been accused of violating the Hobbes Act, you’re in a very serious situation. All of these charges have the potential for severe penalties. Penalties include time spent in prison. When the Hobbes Act is violated, you might even find yourself serving your time in federal prison. Depending on the circumstances, a person might be charged with both of these crimes simultaneously.
A person who has faced one or more of these charges should get in contact with a defense attorney as soon as possible. Whatever attorney you get will need to be licensed to practice federal law, if your charges involve the Hobbes Act. Your law firm should understand how serious these charges are and defend you aggressively. The law offices of Robert Tsigler are ready to help with your case.
When a person uses force or threats to obtain something valuable, the crime of extortion has been committed. Oftentimes, people refer to extortion as “blackmail.” Blackmail and extortion are terms that can be used interchangeably. According to the law, any threats made aren’t required to be physical to fit under the “extortion” umbrella.
For a threat to be relevant, it must “induce harm” if the threatened action is completed. This includes not only physical harm, but anything that would cause emotional harm, financial harm, or harm to a person’s reputation. The prosecution must also prove that the threat was made in order to gain something valuable, rather than existing by itself.
In 1951, the Hobbes Act was established. The legislation concerns robbery and extortion with interstate commerce. Originally, the act was drafted to fight corruption that had cropped up in labor unions. This corruption was disrupting the flow of products between states.
Since it was enacted, however, the Hobbes Act has set legal precedents for prosecuting any type of robbery or extortion that interrupts commerce flow. The source of the corruption doesn’t matter. The Hobbes Act also has legislation regarding people who accept money for services or goods that they shouldn’t be allowed to receive, given to them by any known public official.
If a person is convicted of violating the Hobbes Act, they will be forced to pay a large fine. They may also serve up to twenty years in a federal prison. Alternatively, both of these sentences might be imposed upon the same person.
What to Do If Charged
If you are subject to an extortion charge, or a charge of violating the Hobbes Act, you should keep in mind that a charge is not a conviction. Under United States law, you are innocent until the prosecution has proven your guilt. It’s important to seek an experienced defense attorney as possible so that you can understand your rights and build your defense.
Many gray areas exist regarding extortion laws. It’s possible that you made a statement of fact that another person considered a threat. This would be an illusion of extortion rather than actual extortion. There are other circumstances that would give you a viable defense as well. After your attorney reviews the facts of your case, they can discuss your options and best defense strategy.
Your attorney cannot promise that they will avoid a conviction. The decision about conviction will rest with the jury. But your lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected and that you have the best defense possible. If you choose to take a plea deal, your lawyer can also negotiate the best deal possible.
Exercise your right to remain silent after you’re arrested. Only tell law enforcement that you want your lawyer. Officers are trained to goad people into making statements that will later be used against them in court. Let your lawyer do all of the talking.