Blackmail is More Than a Film Noir Classic
Blackmail. We know it from television shows and old black-and-white movies. Someone’s secret is threatened by a blackmailer who has pictures, an audio file, or a film clip of the person being blackmailed having an affair or murdering someone.
At least that is how it is on television and in the movie. But television shows are only based on reality to some extent, and blackmail is a very real crime in Oklahoma.
Blackmail in Oklahoma: What the Law Says
In Oklahoma, blackmail is a verbal or written communication made with the intent to extort or gain something else of value from another person, or made with the intent to compel a person to perform an action against his or her will. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1488
The crime is grounded in the idea of forcing a person to take or not take a specific action against his or her will.
This can be done in many ways, and Oklahoma law defines a number of activities as blackmail.
It is against the law to accuse, or threaten to accuse, a person of a crime or any other conduct that would be degrading or disgraceful to that person in order to extort them. Bob is your boss and he is an upstanding kind of guy. You want a raise and you threaten to accuse him of sexual harassment unless he gives you the raise you want. Your threat is a classic form of blackmail. Whether you actually accuse your boss of a crime is irrelevant. The threat of accusation is the crime.
Blackmail can also occur when one exposes, or threatens to expose, a fact or circumstance about a person that would subject that person to ridicule or contempt. You want your boss to give you a promotion. You know that Bob, your boss, likes to watch Saturday morning cartoons and that fact would cause lots of people in the office to tease and stigmatize Bob. You threaten to expose this tidbit of information to co-workers unless Bob gives you your promotion. This, too, is blackmail.
Finally, under Oklahoma law, blackmail occurs when one threatens to report another person to authorities as an illegal alien in the United States in order to compel that person to either give you something of value or do some act against his or her will. You know that the janitor at the office is an illegal alien. You threaten to report her to immigration unless he turns over some of his weekly salary to you. This is blackmail.
Penalties For Blackmail in Oklahoma
If convicted of blackmail in Oklahoma, you could be sentenced up to five years in jail, and possibly be required to pay up to $10,000 in fines. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1488
Five years in jail will change the course of your life. It affects your ability to find decent and affordable housing after you are released, and affects your ability to earn a decent living.
If you are facing blackmail charges in Claremore, Oklahoma, it is important that you hire contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you understand what options may be available to you and can help you protect your freedom.
Free Consultation With An Experienced Claremore Criminal Defense Attorney
There are defenses available to you. Don’t delay.
The Claremore Lawyer prides itself on providing the best possible legal representation at reasonable prices. We will work hard to preserve your freedom.
And the initial consultation is free. Call us at (918) 213-0950. If you prefer written correspondence, submit your question using the form at the top right of this page.