Extortion (also referred to as “blackmail”) is more rampant in divorce litigation than in almost any other area of law.
Extortion and Divorce
Extortion is when one spouse either holds something ‘hostage’ from the other party or obtains something from the other spouse through coercion. Coercion can include threats of abuse or violence, but it does not need to be physical; it can also include threats to destroy someone’s reputation or relationships.
Extortion Penalties in Texas
Texas extortion laws offer many possible penalties. When fighting extortion, the factor that determines the severity of the punishment is the amount or value of the goods, services, or cash that the defendant gains from the blackmail.
For the smallest amounts ($50 and under), extortionists may be charged with a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of a simple fine of up $500. The most severe charge ( extorting $200,000 or more in goods, services, or cash) is considered a first-degree felony and can be punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.