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Colorado Criminal Law – Understanding 18-8-108 Compounding – When Someone Threatens a Criminal Charge If They Are Not Paid Off

This crime – which has been around a very long time – makes it a crime to extort money from a person by threatening them with a criminal prosecution. This means that a person cannot say to you that unless you pay them a large amount of money – they will contact the police and report you for the commission of a crime.

It is a defense to this crime IF the amount they are seeking is the actual amount of money that you illegally – that is criminally – you may have taken from them.

Therefore this is the crime of accepting or agreeing to accept money or other consideration for not disclosing information that may result in the prosecution of a perpetrator.

Here is the crime:

18-8-108. Compounding.

(1) A person commits compounding if he accepts or agrees to accept any pecuniary benefit as consideration for:

(a) Refraining from seeking prosecution of an offender; or

(b) Refraining from reporting to law enforcement authorities the commission or suspected commission of any crime or information relating to a crime.

(2) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the benefit received by the defendant did not exceed an amount which the defendant reasonably believed to be due as restitution or indemnification for harm caused by the crime.

 (3) Compounding is a class 3 misdemeanor.

Stated a different way:

A promise to compound any criminal offense is itself a crime and affords no valid consideration for a contract.

Thief or third person may recompense owner for loss resulting from theft. A thief is under a legal, as well as a moral, duty to repay the person whose property he has stolen, and it is not in itself an illegal contract for him to give his own obligation therefor, or for a third party to agree to recompense the owner for the loss.

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H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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