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Illinois Extortion Laws

The crime of intimidation in Illinois, referred to as extortion in other states, is one of several offenses against the person involving bodily harm or threats of harm. More specifically, a person commits intimidation by intentionally threatening others to get them to perform or refrain from performing any act. This can include threats to:

  • Physically harm the victim or any other person or property;
  • Physically confine or restrain any person;
  • Commit a felony or Class A misdemeanor;
  • Accuse any person of a crime;
  • Expose any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule;
  • Take action as a public official against anyone or anything, or withhold official action; or
  • Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action.

The offender's threat to the victim may be communicated by any means, whether directly or indirectly. It can also include a defendant's threats to bring criminal charges against a person who may testify at trial, even if there is a basis for such charges.

The crime of intimidation is considered aggravated when it's associated with gang activities or when it's used against certain government officials or to prevent someone from becoming a community policing volunteer.

Illinois Extortion Laws at a Glance

The following table highlights the main provisions of Illinois's extortion laws.


Illinois Statutes Section 5/12-6 (Intimidation)

Penalties and Sentencing

Intimidation is a Class 3 Felony punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Aggravated intimidation is a Class 2 Felony punishable by 3-7 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000 where it is committed:

  1. To prevent a person from becoming a community policing volunteer; or
  2. With knowledge that the victim was a peace officer, correctional institution employee, fireman, or community policing volunteer performing his or her official duties

Aggravated intimidation committed in furtherance of organized gang activities is the most serious level of the offense and is a Class 1 Felony, punishable 4-15 years in prison, periodic imprisonment of 3 to 4 years, or probation or conditional discharge of up to 4 years. In addition to a term of imprisonment, the court may also impose a fine of up to $25,000 for each offense, and/or restitution.


Defenses include:

  • Lack of intent
  • Infancy (for persons less than 13 years of age)
  • Insanity
  • Entrapment
  • Duress

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.

Related Resources for Illinois Extortion Laws

Discuss Your Questions About Illinois Extortion Laws with a Lawyer

If you've been charged with extortion, it's always important to remember that you're innocent unless the prosecution can prove the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt. To know where you stand and to improve your chances of success, it's in your best interests to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.

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