The state of California considers extortion a serious criminal act. Extortion involves forcing someone else to do something through the use of a threat. Individuals can extort money or funds out of a person or organization. They can also try to obtain a signature by extortion. This act is prosecuted under Penal Code 522.
The court treats PC 522 as a felony. A conviction could result in fines and years in prison. Make sure you understand how to fight this charge by working with the Simmrin Law Group. Our experienced attorneys can help you protect your future.
Understanding Embezzlement in California
All types of extortion are against the law in California. California uses Penal Code 518 to prosecute general acts of extortion. Generally, extortion occurs when one party tries to take something from another party. Individuals commit extortion if they threaten to:
- Use force to hurt them or someone else
- Claim someone else committed a crime
- Reveal someone else’s secret
PC 522 specifically handles the use of extortion to get a signature. However, the signature must be used for a specific purpose. Generally, the signature must be placed on some kind of financial or legally binding document, like a will or a check.
Intent and Extortion
Under PC 522, the intent to commit a crime is crucial. Individuals must obtain a signature with the objective of using it to take someone else’s money or valuables to face a PC 522 conviction. PC 522 charges only apply if someone signs a document as a result of extortion.
If the individual refuses to sign the document, the accused should not be convicted under PC 522. However, individuals can face charges under PC 522 if they obtain a forced signature, even if they do not use the signed document. Consider the following example.
A man threatened his girlfriend into signing a blank check over to him. However, he delayed going to the bank to cash the check. In the meantime, his girlfriend called the police and told them what happened. The police then arrested the man. He could still face a PC 522 conviction because he obtained her signature, even though he didn’t cash the check.
Outcomes of a PC 522 Conviction in California
Obtaining a signature by extortion is a felony in California. Felony charges are prosecuted harshly in the California court system. Individuals who get convicted of a PC 522 violation can face:
- Prison time of up to four years
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Formal probation
Judges sometimes offer probation for obtaining a signature by extortion charges. Individuals can avoid prison time if they are on probation. However, they still have to obey the regulations set by the court to stay out of prison.
Find out more about probation by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles are ready to answer your questions. Find out more today about your rights and how to defend yourself.
How a Penal Code 522 Conviction Affects Gun Rights
A conviction under PC 522 will result in a lifetime ban on firearms ownership. Anyone convicted of a felony is forbidden from ever owning or possessing a gun in the State of California. There is no way to restore your rights to gun ownership short of an official pardon from the governor.
Defenses Against PC 522 Accusations in Los Angeles
Not all PC 522 accusations lead to a conviction in Los Angeles. The Simmrin Law Group is prepared to step in to help you handle the charges you are facing. Allow us to investigate the facts of your case. We’re ready to build a defense for you in and out of the courtroom. Depending upon your situation, we can argue that:
- You did not make a threat
- You did not get someone else’s signature
- You were subjected to an illegal search and seizure
You Did Not Make a Threat
Extortion involves threatening another person’s well-being. They can also threaten to expose a secret or accuse someone else of a crime. You could avoid a PC 522 conviction if your lawyer can show that you did not make any threats.
You Did Not Get Someone Else’s Signature
You must obtain another person’s signature to face a conviction under PC 522. Let’s say that you threatened someone, but they refused to sign anything. You could still face criminal charges for making the threat, but you should not have to face a conviction under PC 522. Find out more about possible legal defenses with a lawyer here in California.
You Were Subjected to an Illegal Search and Seizure
Law enforcement officers must obey the laws themselves. This includes respecting your Fourth Amendment rights regarding unlawful search and seizure. Police are only allowed to search your person or property under specific conditions.
If law enforcement officers obtain evidence of a crime as a result of an unlawful search and seizure, your attorney can move to have that evidence suppressed. If the illegally obtained evidence is the main basis for the charges against you, your lawyer may be able to get your case thrown out entirely.
Can a Conviction Under PC 522 Be Expunged?
If you serve time in prison as a result of your conviction, you will be unable to get your record expunged. Charges that result in prison time are ineligible for expungement. However, charges that result in jail time or probation can be expunged once you have completed your sentence.
An experienced lawyer can help you with your petition to the court to expunge your conviction. Having a legal professional by your side will increase your chances of successfully getting an expungement.
Let Us Help You Fight Penal Code 522 Charges
Start working on your defense now if you are charged under Penal Code 522. Let the Simmrin Law Group help if you are accused of obtaining a signature by extortion. Contact us for a free consultation about your legal options today. We know what it takes to help clients in your situation.
Find out more now by calling us or filling out our online contact form.