Federal Interstate Communications Threat Charges

The Federal crime of making certain threats or demands through Interstate Communications is defined by 18 U.S.C. § 875 as follows:


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(a) Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any demand or request for a ransom or reward for the release of any kidnapped person, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

(b) Whoever, with intent to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value, transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

(c) Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.


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(d) Whoever, with intent to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value, transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to injure the property or reputation of the addressee or of another or the reputation of a deceased person or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

Such Federal charges can be filed when a person uses an instrumentality of interstate commerce – to include a landline, a cell phone, the internet, etc. – to make threats of bodily harm, reputation harm, or property harm as part of an extortion attempt. The rise of electronic communication means just as legitimate communication is increasing electronic, so is potentially criminal communication.

Depending upon the circumstances of the case, a person who is convicted can receive up to 20 years in federal prison. As such, it is important to handle the case properly.


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