Extortion is a serious, if relatively uncommon, offence in Ontario. The essence of extortion is using violence or threats to get another person to do something. A serious charge such as extortion requires experienced counsel. Experienced counsel may be able to discern defences not readily apparent, may be able to negotiate a favourable settlement, or if that is not possible defend the case at trial. Contact Misha if you or a family member has been charged with extortion.
What is Extortion?
Extortion is the use of a threat of violence to cause someone to do something they would not ordinarily do. Extortion is a serious offence of violence, similar to robbery, and attracts similarly high sentences upon conviction. A sentence for extortion can routinely be measured in years, rather than months. Bail terms are frequently very onerous for people charged with extortion. If a restricted or prohibited firearm is used during the extortion, mandatory minimum sentences run from between four and seven years, depending on the circumstances. Contact Misha if you or a family member has been charged with extortion.
What is the Penalty for Extortion? Is there Jail Time?
The maximum penalty for extortion is life imprisonment according to the Criminal Code of Canada. If a firearm or imitation firearm is used, significant minimum jail sentences will apply. There is no doubt that extortion is a very serious criminal charge, but hiring experienced counsel can help. Experienced counsel can assist in obtaining another possible outcome, including resolution to lesser charges (such as assault), the possibility of having your charges withdrawn, or non-custodial sentences in some circumstances.
What happens if you're charged with Extortion?
Anyone charged with extortion has a right to counsel. The police must inform you of the reason for your arrest and must make reasonable efforts to assist you to speak with your counsel of choice. Typically, if you are brought to a police station, they will give you an opportunity to speak with your lawyer of choice in a private room.
Depending on the seriousness of the offence and the circumstances of the case, the police may release you from the station or may hold you for a bail hearing. If you are held for bail, they will advise you so that you may make arrangements to contact a lawyer and assist you in contacting your friends or family to act as sureties for your bail. You have a right to be brought before a Justice or Judge within a reasonable time but in any event within 24 hours of your arrest.
At your bail hearing, your lawyer and the Crown will argue about whether you should be released from custody and, if so, what reasonable terms of bail should be imposed. Any person charged with a crime has a right to a reasonable bail.
Contact Misha if a friend or family member has been charged with an offence, or if they are being held for bail.
Why shouldn't I just plead guilty to Extortion?
A criminal conviction for extortion can have consequences far greater than the sentence imposed by the judge. At a minimum, extortion carries a heavy jail sentence. A criminal conviction can have consequences for employment, immigration status in Canada, access to children as part of any family law proceedings, crossing the border to the United States and elsewhere, and any number of other consequences. While many people may be tempted to plead guilty ‘to get it over with’ a criminal conviction with all its consequences can last for a long time, perhaps forever. A snap decision may be the wrong decision. As experienced trial counsel, Misha can advise you of the strong or weak parts of the Crown’s case. While some cases are strong – and pleading guilty may be a reasonable option – many others are not. Some people are not guilty and guilty pleas are only for guilty people. Experienced trial counsel can negotiate a better deal or successfully represent you at trial.
Only a careful review of your matter can give you the advice you need to make crucial decisions on your case and your life. A careful review may reveal gaps or problems with the Crown’s case. Contact experienced trial counsel Misha Feldmann if you are contemplating pleading guilty.
First Time Extortion Charges
The criminal justice system often recognizes that people make mistakes. Some mistakes are bigger than others. People charged with offences, including Extortion, for the first time are usually treated somewhat differently from people with long criminal records. Experienced counsel can assist in obtaining great results for first time charges. This may include diversion before trial or favourable plea agreements. Contact our office to discuss your case and what to expect.
346 (1) Every one commits extortion who, without reasonable justification or excuse and with intent to obtain anything, by threats, accusations, menaces or violence induces or attempts to induce any person, whether or not he is the person threatened, accused or menaced or to whom violence is shown, to do anything or cause anything to be done.
(1.1) Every person who commits extortion is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
(a) if a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence or if any firearm is used in the commission of the offence and the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of
(i) in the case of a first offence, five years, and
(ii) in the case of a second or subsequent offence, seven years;
(a.1) in any other case where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and
(b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.
Marginal note:Subsequent offences
(1.2) In determining, for the purpose of paragraph (1.1)(a), whether a convicted person has committed a second or subsequent offence, if the person was earlier convicted of any of the following offences, that offence is to be considered as an earlier offence:
(a) an offence under this section;
(b) an offence under subsection 85(1) or (2) or section 244 or 244.2; or
(c) an offence under section 220, 236, 239, 272 or 273, subsection 279(1) or section 279.1 or 344 if a firearm was used in the commission of the offence.
However, an earlier offence shall not be taken into account if 10 years have elapsed between the day on which the person was convicted of the earlier offence and the day on which the person was convicted of the offence for which sentence is being imposed, not taking into account any time in custody.
Marginal note:Sequence of convictions only
(1.3) For the purposes of subsection (1.2), the only question to be considered is the sequence of convictions and no consideration shall be given to the sequence of commission of offences or whether any offence occurred before or after any conviction.
(2) A threat to institute civil proceedings is not a threat for the purposes of this section.