Blackmail is a serious and complex legal issue that can have profound implications for both victims and perpetrators. Understanding the circumstances under which police initiate investigations into blackmail cases is crucial in ensuring that justice is served and that the rights of all parties involved are protected. This guide aims to provide clarity on the legal aspects surrounding blackmail investigations.
The Crime of Blackmail
Many states lump theft crimes together and may issue charges based on the state definition of the crime such as blackmail instead of extortion. The elements are generally similar in that a person uses intimidation, force, coercion or assault to get something out of the victim. If the target does not participate, the blackmailer will reveal information, expose a lie about the person or expose details that should remain hidden. It is possible to deflect law enforcement by implicating the victim in the crime or by revealing information about an illegal activity the person participated in at some time in the past.
Charges against the Perpetrator
When the victim of blackmail has no evidence, there are many states that still engage in the investigation due to the harm that the crime may cause. The intent of the threat is usually the primary element in charges against the perpetrator. However, even if nothing exchanges hands, some states will issue charges if the area recognizes the potential threat as an independent crime. In these situations, law enforcement will charge the person even when no proof exists that the other party threatened to expose something. In these states, justice may start with the trauma of action from the perpetrator attempting to exact something from the victim.
Evidence of Blackmail
While some states require evidence to pursue the investigation, intent and the payment to the other party are often enough to look into the matter. If the matter escalates to extortion through similar acts against a public official, police may start the investigation immediately and attempt to gather new proof through surveillance and video recordings. Depending on the state’s definition of blackmail and extortion, the charges may change. Additionally, the location may require more proof to charge the perpetrator if there is no intent behind the crime. Legal support may help the victim seek justice, but some states do not permit civil litigation in blackmail crimes.
Pursuing Justice or Litigation
Depending on the state, only justice is an option, but other locations do let the victim pursue a lawsuit against the culprit of blackmail. In some of the locations where only criminal courts prevail, the judge may award repayment from the criminal to the victim depending on the circumstances. It is crucial to have sufficient evidence before proceeding through the court case. However, hiring a lawyer may help the injured party seek the necessary items that either the civil case will need or to pursue justice with a prosecutor. It is often important to consult with a lawyer to understand the elements of the crime and how they work in the courtroom.
If litigation is an option to pursue, the perpetrator may go through a criminal and civil case for the same crime. The first may place him or her in jail or prison and issue fines. The second will force him or her to pay the victim compensation in a successful lawsuit. This all depends on the strength of the claim, if the defendant is willing to settle out of court and the lawyer hired for the case. The more proof that the crime occurred with intent, the stronger the claim is.
Legal Help with Blackmail and the Police
Generally, the law enforcement officers in a local area should investigate the matter. However, if the victim attempts this help to no avail, he or she may hire a lawyer to pursue the matter both with police and through either justice or a civil claim against the perpetrator.
If you find yourself in need of legal assistance or have concerns about a potential blackmail case, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Florida criminal lawyers. Our experienced team of legal experts is here to provide you with the guidance and support you require. Contact us today at 954-888-8170, or email info@ZagerLaw.com. We can also be found on Instagram here.