Blackmail. It is a very real crime in Oklahoma. The old movies depicting someone threatening to expose another person’s secret unless the blackmailer’s demands are met are grounded in reality, at least to some extent. Here is what you need to know about the crime of blackmail in Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma, blackmail is defined as a verbal or written communication made with the intent to extort or gain something of value from another person or made with the intent to compel a person to perform an action against his/her will. (See Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1488.)
The gravitas of the crime is forcing a person to take or refrain from taking a specific action against his or her will. It is against the law to accuse or threaten to accuse a person of a crime or any other conduct that would be degrading or disgraceful to that person in order to extort them.
The crime can also occur when one exposes or threatens to expose a fact or circumstances about a person that would subject that person to ridicule or contempt.
Examples abound. You live in a small, conservative town. The pharmacist is gay. You threaten to “out” him unless he gives you drugs without a prescription. You have just committed blackmail.
Your boss takes great pains to treat all his employees fairly. You want to be able to call in sick whenever you want without getting fired, so you threaten your boss with a sexual harassment complaint in order to get your way. This too is blackmail.
Finally, under Oklahoma law, blackmail can also occur when one threatens to report another person to the authorities as an illegal alien in the United States in order to compel that person to either give you something of value or do some act against his/her will. You know that the janitor at the office is an illegal alien. You threaten to report her to immigration unless she gives you the keys to the boss’ office. This is blackmail.
Penalties for Blackmail
Blackmail is a felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. (See Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1488.)
A felony conviction will show up on your job applications long after you have completed your sentence.
If you are facing blackmail charges, it is important that you hire an experienced Tulsa felony criminal defense attorney to help you build a strong defense. Help is just a phone call away.
Free Consultation with a Tulsa Criminal Law Attorney
The Wirth Law Office is here to help when you need it most. We offer a free consultation with an experienced Tulsa criminal law attorney to help you defend your legal rights.
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