Blackmail can feel like a heavy burden on victims – from extortion to intimidation, manipulative tactics employed by a person or organization with malicious intent can take their toll. If you are found guilty of blackmailing someone, you could be facing some pretty serious consequences. But what exactly is blackmail? And is it a crime in Illinois? Throughout this blog post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about blackmail in Illinois.
Is Blackmail a Crime in Illinois?
In Illinois, blackmail is considered a criminal offense. Blackmail essentially involves offering something to someone that targets his or her behavior and coerces them into going along with the demand. This can be in the form of threatened financial harm or even disclosing confidential information. In Illinois, this is a Class 4 felony that could attract jail time if convicted. Residents of this state need to be aware of what counts as blackmailing so they can avoid being part of it or becoming a victim in such cases.
Blackmail Laws & Punishment in Illinois
As defined by Illinois’ criminal code, blackmail can be used to coerce someone into performing a task they might not otherwise do by threatening them with money or anything of value. The severity of blackmail punishment in Illinois depends on the act committed; if someone falsely threatens to accuse another of a crime with intent to extort them, they face class 4 felony charges with a prison sentence stretching up to three years and fines reaching $25,000. Below listed is the statute:
Illinois Statutes Section 5/12-6
- Penalties: Class D. Felony punishable by 2-5 years prison and a fine up to $25,000
- Aggravated intimidation: There is a penalty of 3-7 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000 for this Class 2 Felony.
Those who commit aggravating intimidation in support of organized gang activities are charged with a Class 1 Felony punishable by four to fifteen years in prison, three to four years of periodic imprisonment, or a conditional discharge/ probation for up to four years. Each offense may also carry a fine of up to $25,000, along with restitution.
What to Do If You Become a Victim in IL?
If you have become a victim of a crime in Illinois, it is important to take action immediately. Follow the steps below:
- Time is of the essence, report the crime to local law enforcement right away.
- Although it may be tempting to delete everything, it is important to document the crime.
- Seek out support. You are not alone in this. With the accessibility of technology crimes like internet blackmail and online sextortion have run rampant over recent years.
- Do not pay or block your Blackmailer. Experts say that this makes the criminal more aggressive.
- Reach out for third-party help. There are trained professionals out there ready to help like Digital Investigation.
It is important to remember, you are not alone and there are resources available to help victims of crime in Illinois find the relief and justice they deserve.
All in all, it is clear that blackmail is a serious crime in Illinois, and anyone accused of this offense should seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney. We hope this blog has provided peace of mind that there are laws in place and resources available to prevent and address extortion or blackmail if you become a victim in IL. It’s important to remember that if you find yourself asking “is blackmail illegal in Illinois” – it most certainly is. Stay safe, stay alert and never hesitate to consult an expert lawyer when situations like this arise.