Blackmail in Germany: Criminal Defence

German Criminal Lawyers

Blackmail in Germany: Criminal Defence

German Criminal Lawyers

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, we understand that facing a blackmail accusation can be a distressing experience, fraught with uncertainty and concern about your future. Our dedicated team of seasoned legal professionals is here to provide you with expert guidance, unwavering support, and a robust defence strategy tailored to your unique situation.

From our experience, we recognize that each case is as unique as the individuals involved. Our approach is rooted in legal excellence and a deep understanding of the emotional toll that legal proceedings can take. This combination empowers us to deliver a comprehensive and compassionate service that puts your best interests at the forefront.

As you navigate the intricacies of the legal system, we stand by you as advocates, advisors, and allies. Our priority is to provide clear explanations, honest assessments, and strategic solutions that guide you toward the most favourable outcome possible. We believe in open communication, transparency, and your active involvement in crafting your defence strategy.

Please, do not hesitate to contact our defence lawyers directly for specialist advice in the area of German criminal law and blackmail accusations.

You are here: Home » Criminal Defence Lawyer in Germany » Blackmail & Extortion Lawyer in Germany

Google Rating | Based on 419 reviews

Legal Defence from our Lawyers

Our criminal defence lawyers provide specialised assistance to individuals facing accusations of blackmail. We offer expert guidance throughout the legal process based on our deep understanding of the legal nuances surrounding blackmail cases in Germany. Our lawyers meticulously assess the evidence, devise a robust defence strategy, and ensure clients’ rights are upheld at every stage.

Our lawyers are highly skilled in negotiation and trial representation. They will work tirelessly to challenge the prosecution’s case, cross-examine witnesses, and present evidence that supports the client’s innocence. In criminal trials, it is essential to be aware of court procedures and what a person should expect when facing a trial. Such experience will ensure that your rights are protected, your voice is heard, and you receive a fair and just legal process.

In short, our lawyers are available from the start to offer:

  • Legal expertise and case evaluation,
  • Strategic planning based on the unique circumstances of your case,
  • Protection of your rights during the case and the investigation stages,
  • Negotiation expertise in plea bargains and settlements,
  • Representation during the trial,
  • Mitigation strategies to seek lenient sentences in case of a conviction,
  • Advise you on the appeal process.

However, our lawyers’ expertise is not limited to the courtroom, as we also offer emotional support and a sense of assurance during a challenging and uncertain time. Our clients can be assured that the S&E team will strive to achieve the best possible outcome for their clients facing blackmail accusations.

Blackmail and Extortion under German Law

Blackmail under German law is defined by § 253 StGB (German Criminal Code), and it states the following:

(1) Whoever unlawfully, by force or threat of serious harm, coerces a person to do, acquiesce to or refrain from an act, and thereby damages that person’s or another’s assets for the purpose of wrongful personal enrichment or enrichment of a third party, incurs a penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or a fine.

(2) The act is unlawful if the use of force or the threat of harm is deemed reprehensible in respect of the desired objective.

(3) The attempt is punishable.

(4) In especially serious cases, the penalty is imprisonment for a term of at least one year. An especially serious case typically occurs where the offender acts on a commercial basis or as a member of a gang whose purpose is the continued commission of extortion.

From this definition, we can see that blackmail/extortion concerns the blackmailer coercing the victim to perform actions (or not perform/inactions), refers to the enrichment of the blackmailer or a third party by the act of blackmail/extortion and also refers to the attempt of the action. Therefore, the action of blackmail doesn’t need to be successful for a case to be brought against a person.

Should the coercion take the form of force or violence, that is illegal under § 255 StGB.

In essence, for an act to be considered blackmail under German law, it must involve a threat to accuse the victim of a criminal offence or to reveal damaging information about them or a third party, with the intention of compelling the victim to act against their will.

It’s essential to note that legal interpretations can vary, and specific details of a case can influence whether it falls under the definition of blackmail.

Consequences of Blackmail in Germany

In Germany, the potential penalties for a conviction of blackmail (Erpressung) can vary based on the offence’s severity, the case’s specific circumstances, and the offender’s criminal history. The German Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch, StGB) outlines the penalties, specifically in § 253 StGB.

Here are the potential penalties for a conviction of blackmail under German law:

  • Imprisonment: A person convicted of blackmail can face imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years. The exact length of incarceration depends on the severity of the offence.
  • Fine: In addition to or instead of imprisonment, a fine may be imposed. The fine amount can vary based on the offender’s financial situation and the severity of the offence.

Notably, penalties can change based on legislative updates, court decisions, and other factors. Additionally, aggravating circumstances, such as the use of violence, the involvement of a criminal organization, or the exploitation of a vulnerable victim, could lead to more severe penalties.

Forms of Blackmail

Although blackmail and extortion are criminal actions with long histories, the form they take has developed alongside technology. The internet, smartphones and technology generally have changed the face of blackmail. With the increased access to devices with video recording, audio recording and photography, it has never been easier to accumulate compromising information on other people. Beware of recording compromising videos and taking such photos of yourself, as they can be used later in extortion cases.

Internet scams are common as corrupting viruses, links to child pornography and much more can quickly be sent out to users. Those involved can then request cash payments or other actions to unlock your computer or permanently delete what they have sent. Consult with a legal professional if you find yourself in a difficult situation due to such activities.

Please learn more about Cybercrime in Germany by reading our article on the topic.

Potential Defences Against Accusations of Blackmail

There are several defences available that can be applied in cases of accusations of blackmail. It should be noted that the specific defence strategy will depend on the circumstances of the case and the evidence available. Working with our criminal defence lawyers from the beginning of the case should be strongly considered to allow them to provide their expertise.

Firstly, the necessary elements of the criminal blackmail offence blackmail need to be examined. If they are not fully present, there may be grounds to argue that the charges should be dropped or that you should be acquitted. It may be that the supposed victim consented to the actions you’re accused of under the circumstances, and in such a case, there may be no coercion or blackmail involved.

There may be a lack of solid evidence to prove that the blackmail occurred as alleged. In such cases, the prosecution’s evidence may be weak or circumstantial, and therefore, our team can challenge the credibility of the evidence. Our lawyers are experts in the legal requirements of evidence under German law. Similarly, there may be the possibility of mistaken identity, or you may have a solid alibi.

The accusations may not be accurate, and there may be discrepancies in the facts presented by the prosecution. In such cases, the allegation of blackmail may be a false one. If there’s reason to believe the allegations were fabricated or the victim is not being truthful, we will work diligently to expose inconsistencies or ulterior motives.

It’s important to note that each case is unique, and the effectiveness of a defence strategy will depend on the specific details of your situation. Once our criminal lawyers start on your case, they will work diligently to assess the evidence, build a strong defence, and guide you through the legal process.

Aggravating and Mitigating Circumstances in Blackmail Cases

The case’s specific circumstances can significantly influence the outcome of blackmail cases. Individual aspects can either aggravate or mitigate the penalties faced by the accused. Judges consider these factors in determining a fair and appropriate sentence. Our lawyers can advise you about the exact elements that will apply to your case; however, here are some general factors that can apply.

Navigating the intricate balance between aggravating and mitigating circumstances demands strategic advocacy. Our seasoned defence lawyers possess a wealth of experience in artfully presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and constructing persuasive arguments that reflect the multifaceted nature of each case. We pride ourselves on adapting our approach to each situation’s unique details, ensuring that our clients receive the tailored defence they deserve.

Aggravating Circumstances in Blackmail Cases in Germany

In our experience, certain circumstances can significantly escalate the seriousness of a blackmail case. Our legal experts delve deep into the details to comprehensively address these aggravating elements, formulating arguments that navigate their complexities and shed light on their relevance within the context of the case.

  • Use of Violence or Threat of Violence: If violence or the threat of violence was involved in the blackmail, this can significantly aggravate the offence and lead to more severe penalties.
  • Exploitation of Vulnerable Individuals: If the victim is particularly vulnerable due to age, health, or other factors, the court may consider this an aggravating circumstance.
  • Use of a Weapon: If the offender used a weapon to accompany their threats, it could intensify the seriousness of the offence.
  • Criminal History: This can be considered an aggravating factor if the accused has a history of similar offences or a significant criminal record.
  • Motivation: If the reason for blackmail involves hatred, discrimination, or a desire to harm the victim for personal gain, it can worsen the offender’s position.

These are only some of the aggravat