Ohio Extortion Laws

While each state has its own definition of conduct that's classified as extortion, it's generally defined as threatening a person in order to gain a benefit, such as money or property. In Ohio, extortion can occur when a person tries to gain something of value or tries to induce another to perform an unlawful act. Ohio's extortion laws include a statute prohibiting coercion, which is a lesser crime than extortion. Violation of Ohio's extortion laws can occur whether the threat is direct or implied.

Bribery vs. Extortion

A crime similar to - and sometimes confused with - extortion is bribery. The difference between these two crimes is that bribery uses a positive reward for compliance, while extortion uses negative acts (such as threat of violence) for compliance. For example, it's bribery to say "If you do this for me, I'll pay you $1,000." Extortion, on the other hand would be, "If you don't give me $2,000, I'll beat you up." Ohio has a separate statute prohibiting bribery.

Ohio Extortion Laws Overview

Below you will find key provisions of extortion laws in Ohio.

Statute(s)

Ohio Revised Code Title XXIX. Crimes Procedure Sections:

What's Prohibited?

Extortion: with purpose to obtain something valuable or to persuade another to perform an unlawful act, do any of the following:

  • Threaten to commit a felony or any offense of violence;
  • Violate sections 2903.21 or 2903.22;
  • Slander/threaten to slander someone; or
  • Expose/threaten to expose something that's likely to subject any individual to hatred or ridicule, damage anyone's business or personal reputation, or impair any person's credit.

Coercion: with purpose to force someone to act or not act in a certain way, do any of the following:

  • Threaten to commit an offense;
  • Slander/threaten to slander someone;
  • Expose/threaten to expose something that's likely to subject any individual to hatred or ridicule, damage anyone's business or personal reputation, or impair any person's credit;
  • Institute or threaten criminal proceedings against anyone; or
  • Take or withhold/threaten to take or withhold official action.
Charges and Penalties

Extortion is a felony of the third degree punishable by 9, 12, 18, 24, 30, or 36 months in prison and fines not exceeding $10,000.

Coercion is a misdemeanor of the second degree punishable by not more than 90 days in jail and fines not exceeding $750.

Related Offense(s)

Ohio Revised Code Title XXIX. Crimes Procedure Section 2905.21, et seq. (Extortionate Extension of Credit)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Ohio Extortion Laws: Related Resources

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Get Legal Help with Your Extortion Case in Ohio

Ohio takes extortion and coercion seriously, and conviction under Ohio's extortion laws may result in imprisonment and/or fines. If you're facing charges of extortion or coercion charges in Ohio, you may want to contact a criminal defense attorney in Ohio to learn about your rights and options.

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