In NSW, Blackmail carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
Blackmail is a very serious charge that carries heavy penalties. However, there are a wide range of penalties available to the court, and a wide range of conduct that can bring you within the charge. It is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible so that an experiences criminal lawyer can assess your case and provide advice specific to your matter.
In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for an blackmail or demand money with menaces charge.
- Prison Sentence
- Home Detention
- Intensive Corrections Order (ICO)
- Suspended Sentence
- Community Service Order (CSO)
- Community Corrections Orders (CCO)
- Good Behaviour Bond
- Section 10A
- Conditional Release Order (CRO)
- Section 10
You’ll find a brief description of each of these penalties at the bottom of this page.
The Offence of Blackmail:
The offence of Blackmail is contained in section 249K of the Crimes Act 1900. It reads as follows:
(1) A person who makes any unwarranted demand with menaces:
- With the intention of obtaining a gain or of causing a loss, or
- With the intention of influencing the exercise of a public duty, is guilty of an offence.
What the Police must Prove:
To convict you of Blackmail, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:
That you made an unwarranted demand with menaces:
That you did so intending to
- Obtain a gain
- Cause a loss or
- Influence the exercise of a public duty
“Menaces” is defined as including a threat to do something “detrimental or unpleasant” to a person
What are Examples of Blackmail?
Taking a person hostage and demanding a ransom
Threatening to damage property if a certain thing is not done
Threatening to harm a person if they don’t do a certain thing
Possible Defences to a Blackmail Charge Include but are not Limited to:
Denying that you did the thing you are said to have done
Denying that what you did was “detrimental or unpleasant”
Denying any intention to cause a gain, loss of influence
Claiming you did this action under duress
Which Court will Hear your Matter?
This matter is a “table” offence, meaning that it may be finalised in the Local Court, the District Court or the Supreme Court.
Types of Penalties:
Home Detention: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 as a standalone order but may be imposed as a condition of an Intensive Corrections Order (ICO). Home detention is an alternative to full-time imprisonment. In effect the gaol sentence is served at your address rather than in a gaol. If you receive a sentence of home detention you will be strictly supervised and subject to electronic monitoring. Read more.
Intensive Corrections Order (ICO): This option has replaced periodic detention. The court can order you to comply with a number of conditions, such as attending counselling or treatment, not consuming alcohol, complying with a curfew and performing community service. Read more.
Suspended Sentence: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018. This is a jail sentence that is suspended upon you entering into a good behaviour bond. Provided the terms of the good behaviour bond are obeyed the jail sentence will not come into effect. A suspended sentence is only available for sentences of imprisonment of up to two years. Read more.
Community Service Order (CSO): As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). This involves either unpaid work in the community at a place specified by probation and parole or attendance at a centre to undertake a course, such as anger management. In order to be eligible for a CSO you have to be assessed by an officer of the probation service as suitable to undertake the order. Read more.
Good Behaviour Bond: As a result of amended legislation this penalty was repealed on 24 September 2018 and replaced with a Community Corrections Order (CCO). This is an order of the court that requires you to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time. The court will impose conditions that you will have to obey during the term of the good behaviour bond. The maximum duration of a good behaviour bond is five years. Read more.
Community Corrections Orders (CCO): A CCO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the Community Corrections Orders (CCO). Additional conditions may be imposed at the discretion of the court, both at the time of sentence and subsequently upon application by a community corrections officer, juvenile justice officer or the offender. Read more.
Conditional Release Order (CRO): A CRO involves the standard conditions that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear before the court if called on to do so at any time during the term of the CRO. Read more.
Section 10 avoiding a criminal record. Normally, when you plead guilty to a criminal offence, the court imposes a penalty and records a conviction. If the court records a conviction, you will have a criminal record. However, if we can convince the court not to convict you, there will be no penalty of any type and no criminal record. In all criminal cases, the court has the discretion not to convict you, but to give you a Section 10 dismissal instead. Read more.
WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.