Blackmail is a crime where one uses written threats in an attempt to get a statement from another individual and release that statement or information to the public. Regardless of whether the statement is true or false, it is still blackmail.
• The Complications of Blackmailing
– Blackmail is a very tricky subject in criminal law because it opens up a lot of other illegal activities as well. For instance, if you use threats and physical harm on someone to get something or a piece of property from them is coercion, which is something entirely different from blackmail.
– In addition to the complications of blackmail, it is also a term that is very loosely used. It has been used to describe a number of different crimes for centuries, to the point that many other criminal law terms have become almost synonymous. Coercion is a prime example, and another one is extortion. All of these criminal law terms involve either somebody or a group of people using threats or mental or physical force to illegally get something from another individual.
– The laws regarding blackmail vary by each state, but many have taken steps to discriminate it from the other similar terms that we have talked about. Today, most states require that the blackmail has to be in writing. Whereas coercion is actually doing physical harm on somebody and extortion would be taking property from someone and threatening harm upon them if they resist, blackmail has to be a written form to another individual informing them that they need to release a statement to the public or harm will befall them. This form of writing can be more traditional in the form of a letter, or more modern in the form of e-mail or a text message. If you’re in Queens, NY you may need a Queens criminal lawyer. Michael Dreishpoon is a Criminal defense attorney, Queens NY.
• Exposing the Blackmail of another Individual
– You can also find yourself in a rather tricky situation if you try to expose the illegal blackmailing activity of another individual, perhaps of someone you know at work or your employer. However, you would have to be careful in how you go about this. For this example, let’s say that you have discovered that your boss is blackmailing other people. You shouldn’t inform your boss that you know of their blackmailing activity, and then tell them that you won’t tell the authorities in exchanging for perhaps a promotion or a higher paycheck. You would be borderline on blackmail yourself. Instead, you should simply inform the authorities with the proper evidence.