Extortion in Arizona: What You Need to Know About ARS 13-1804  

In the state of Arizona, extortion is the act of intentionally and knowingly attempting to illegally gain, access, or obtain something that does not belong to you by making a threat you suggest you will act on in the future or simply making a threat in real-time.

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What makes the threat extortion is that the person you are threatening has — or has access to — something you want: this could be information, money, photographs or videotape evidence, drugs, or anything else. 

The item(s) you are making threats to obtain do not have to have any monetary value in order for the crime to be considered extortion. 

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The 3 Main Types of Extortion as Delineated in ARS 13-1804 

Pursuant to ARS 13-1804, extortion — also sometimes called blackmail — can mean threatening anything from physically harming someone or their family member, either with a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument.

Additionally, extortion threats can also include property: any threats made to damage someone’s car, home, boat, or even pets can also be considered extortion.  

In another form of extortion, rather than using the threat of physical violence or property damage, the perpetrator may instead threaten the alleged victim by suggesting to him or her that he will reveal something about him or her, such as an extramarital affair or a gambling problem.

Whether or not the alleged victim did engage in these or any other activities, and even if they are illegal in nature, holding such information over that person as a means to gain something from them that you want is against the law.  

Finally, in some instances, extortion can mean that a perpetrator tells his or her targeted victim that s/he plans to go to the police or other authorities to report a crime the victim was allegedly a part of.

Here again, even if the extorted victim did commit a crime, using the knowledge of this crime to obtain something you want from that person is highly illegal and absolutely falls under the category of extortion and blackmail. 


Potential Penalties and Sentencing Guidelines for Extortion in Arizona  

When the Threat of Extortion Was Not Followed Through On 

In instances where the perpetrator made his or her threat to use either a dangerous instrument (such as a baseball bat or club, for example) or a deadly weapon (such as a knife or firearm), but s/he failed to follow through with the threat(s) made over the phone or in-person to use these items, this would be classified as a class 2 non-dangerous felony.  

Sentencing guidelines for Class 2 Non-Dangerous Felonies are as follows:  

  • First-time offenders are likely to be sentenced to probation along with between 0 days and 1 year in jail; however, based on any other hazardous factors associated with the incident, the judge may instead rule for the sentencing of between 3 years and 12.5 years in prison.  
  • For defendants with one other prior felony conviction on his or her record, the option for probation and jail go away, leaving only prison, for which sentencing will be a minimum of 4.5 to a maximum of 23.25 years in prison.  
  • For those defendants with two prior felony convictions, prison is again the only option, and sentencing ranges from a minimum of 10.5 years and a maximum of 35 years in prison. 

When the Threat of Extortion Was Followed Through On 

If the perpetrator who made the threat did, in fact, make use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument in the presence of the victim by either pointing it in his or her direction, discharging a firearm, or attempting to stab or stabbing the victim, the perpetrator now faces something called a “dangerous offense,” for which prison is the only sentencing available.  

  • Though they may be first-time offenders, dangerous crimes carry with them a mandatory minimum of 7 years in prison with a maximum of 21 years in prison.  
  • If the defendant has one other prior felony conviction on his or her record before the new charge of extortion, s/he will face a minimum of 14 years in prison with a maximum of 28 years in prison.  
  • Suppose the defendant has two prior felony convictions on his or her record before the new dangerous offense, including extortion. In that case, the mandatory minimum is 21 years in prison with a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison. 


Defending Extortion Charges in Arizona: You Need a Veteran Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney  

Extortion cases aren’t always as cut and dry as they seem to the average onlooker. For example, what you consider threatening language and what someone else finds threatening language is entirely subjective and, therefore, challenging in some cases for a prosecution to charge.  

In other instances, perhaps the person felt threatened because what you were asking for was something that person had borrowed from you and failed to return, thus making them anxious to communicate with you.  

Each case of alleged extortion is unique. Still, it understands the critical nuances between them that separate the Law Firm of Daniel Hutto from other criminal defense lawyers in Arizona today.  

We’ll work with you, hearing out your side of the story, researching the scene of the alleged crime, talking to any potential witnesses and character witnesses, and, if need be, forensics consultants, doctors, and more.  

We want to hear your side of the story and begin the process of building your defense — because we understand the clock is ticking.  

Give us a call at 602.671.0609 for your no-cost legal consultation, and speak with our highly experienced criminal defense attorneys near you today. 

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