Is Blackmail Illegal in Missouri? Missouri defines blackmail as the crime of coercing someone to do something against their will by threatening to reveal information that would cause them embarrassment, financial harm, or legal trouble. While this may seem like a cut-and-dried case of illegal activity, Missouri’s laws on blackmail are more complex than they first appear. If you’re a victim of blackmail in Missouri, it’s important to understand the state’s laws so that you can make the best decisions for your situation.
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What Does Blackmail Mean in Missouri?
To be considered blackmail in Missouri, the threat must be made with the intent to compel the victim to take a certain action – usually, this action is giving in to the blackmailer’s demands. The type of information threatened to be revealed can vary, but it must be something that would damage the victim’s reputation or cause them financial or legal harm if it were made public.
Is Blackmail illegal in Missouri?
Yes, under Missouri’s Statute through Section 566.200, If someone forces another person to do something against their will to obtain or attempt to obtain, money, property, or an advantage, extortion is illegal. As defined in Missouri law, extortion is defined under the “blackmail” and “coercion” offenses. Threats made to expose potentially damaging information or intimidate victims of these crimes are a violation of Missouri’s laws. If found guilty it could result in prison time, costly fines, and restitution to the victim.
Different Elements that fall under this crime:
- Blackmail involves the threat to reveal damaging information and includes a threat to expose any secret tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule.
- Coercion involving threats of serious harm or abuse or any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person.
- Revenge Porn which distributes or obtains private images threw the knowledge that the person did not consent to.
How to Protect yourself?
If you find yourself in the difficult position of being blackmailed, know that you have options. First and foremost, it’s important to stay calm and assess the situation. If you can’t come up with a resolution on your own, reach out to an experienced attorney who can help you navigate Missouri’s laws and make the best decisions for your case.
- Cyber blackmail is on the rise, so keeping your computer’s anti-virus programs up to date is essential to protecting yourself from blackmail.
- Keeping up with scams is important A criminal who claims to have personal information on you is essentially bluffing.
- Keep your social media accounts private and leaving your information on the internet is a security risk. Things that are listed as private are more likely to be kept safe.
- Keep explicit information to yourself and do not share it with anyone you do not know or trust.
Blackmail is a serious crime in Missouri, and the best course of action is to seek out professional help so that you can make the best decisions for your situation. If you are the victim of blackmail, it’s important to take action and protect yourself. If you or someone you know is having trouble with blackmail do not hesitate to seek help with Private Digital Investigation and call the 24/7 sextortion helpline. Comment or share your story below!