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. Just call us at (310) 997-4688 for more information.
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 on and/or 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 important. Individuals must obtain a signature with the intent 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, then 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 are convicted of a PC 522 violation can face:
- Prison time of up to four years
- Fines of up to $10,000
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 at (310) 997-4688. Find out more today about your rights and how to defend yourself.
Defenses for 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
Extortion involves threatening another person’s well-being. They can also threaten to expose a secret or to 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.
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 now for a free consultation about your legal options. We know what it takes to help clients in your situation.
Find out more now by calling (310) 997-4688 or filling out our online contact form.