What Is Considered Extortion?

If you’re charged with extortion in Nevada, it’s imperative that you understand the laws that apply to the crime. In general, the term extortion refers to the act of obtaining something of value, such as property, money, or services, from another person through the use of force, threat, or intimidation. A conviction for extortion may have severe and long-lasting consequences, such as fines, imprisonment, and a criminal record.

Below, we explain what constitutes extortion under Nevada law, the potential penalties for this offense, and any defenses that may be available. A criminal defense attorney is essential to help protect your rights and defend against extortion charges if you or someone you know is being accused of them.

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What Is Extortion?

Courthouse gavel in an extortion case

Extortion, also known as blackmail, is a broad legal term that refers to any circumstance in which someone wrongfully threatens someone else in an effort to obtain something of value. Nevada Revised Statute 205.320 defines extortion as the act of threatening another person directly or indirectly to either:

  • Accuse a person of a crime they did not commit.
  • Injure a person or damage property.
  • Commit libel or publish falsehoods about a person.
  • Expose any deformity, disgrace, scandal, or secret.

These threats are made with the intent to:

  • Gain money or property.
  • Make, subscribe, execute, alter, or destroy any valuable security, instrument, or writing, or act to affect a cause of action or a defense.
  • Influence the actions of a public officer, such as a judge or municipal worker.
  • Coerce or influence another to perform any wrongful or illegal act. 

Extortionate Collection of Debt

The extortionate collection of debt is another extortion crime mentioned in the statute. This law prohibits certain actions in relation to attempting to recover money owed. It is unlawful to make a debtor, or person owing money, have a legitimate fear that failing to pay off the debt could lead to the use of force, criminal activity that endangers the debtor or another person, or damage to any property the debtor owns or has under their control.

What Are the Penalties for Being Charged With Extortion?

Extortion is classified as a category B felony in Nevada and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, fines of up to $10,000, and victim restitution. The maximum sentence for the related crime of extortionate debt collection is reduced to six years.

What Types of Defenses Are Available?

Depending on the case’s specifics, various legal defenses exist to extortion accusations in Nevada. With one of the following common defense techniques, it might be possible to get the charges reduced to a lesser offense or even dismissed:

– You Did Not Have the Required Intent

You must have had the intention to obtain goods, money, or services through the use of force, threats, or fear of being found guilty of extortion. If you did not intend to acquire goods or services through these means, lack of intent may be used as a defense.

– You Were Coerced or Under Duress

If you were coerced into committing the crime under threat of harm to yourself or your loved ones or committed the crime while being threatened with harm or injury by another person, coercion or duress may be used as a defense.

– You Did Not Use Force or Threats

Extortion under Nevada law requires the use of force or threats. If there was no use of force or threats, it could be argued that your behavior did not constitute extortion.

– You Entered a Valid Contract or Made a Legitimate Offer

If you took part in a legitimate transaction that was mistakenly construed as extortion, you had a legitimate claim to the good or service in question, or the alleged victim was simply fulfilling a prior obligation, your case may be dismissed.

Can Your Records Be Sealed?

Extortion convictions are classified as category B felonies. They can  be sealed five years after the case has officially concluded, the date of release from actual custody, or the date of discharge from parole or probation, whichever occurs later. You must petition the court to have your record sealed, and the process can take several weeks.

If the extortion charge is dismissed, you can immediately request that your record be sealed.

Are There Any Related Offenses?

There are several offenses related to extortion, including:


Libel refers to the printed dissemination of untrue information that damages a person’s reputation or interferes with their way of life. Almost any format, including books, magazines, and newspapers, can be used to publish defamatory statements.


Harassment in Nevada includes such offenses as making threats to harm another person physically, causing property damage to another person, falsely imprisoning, restraining, or confining another person, or even taking action that might jeopardize someone’s safety and well-being.

Online Harassment

Also referred to as cyberstalking, online harassment entails sending vulgar or threatening messages or images via text, email, or social media. This category also covers making terrorist threats via the internet.


Bribery is when a person offers someone something of value in return for a favor in the form of an illicit action. In Nevada, bribing executive, administrative, and public officials, judges, jurors, or witnesses in a judicial proceeding is illegal.


Coercion is defined as the willful use of intimidation, deprivation, or violence to force another person to take an action that they are not required to take by law or not to do something they have a right to do.

Why Should You Contact De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers?

De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers has spent more than fifteen years defending the rights of the residents of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas. Our team has over 12 decades of combined legal experience and knows how to build a strong defense.

Call 702-840-4781 or use our secure online contact form to discuss your case today. We have skilled criminal defense lawyers ready to represent you. We have experience defending clients against various criminal charges, including those involving disorderly conduct and DUI offenses.

Photo Credit: Image by Okan Caliskan is licensed with Pixabay License