Sexual Extortion in Utah | Penalties

What is the Crime of Sexual Extortion?

Sexual extortion, one can imagine, is exactly what the terms suggests: It is when someone threatens another’s person, property, or reputation or to distribute an intimate image of the victim unless the victim engages in some kind of sexual contact or provides an intimate image. The statute prohibiting sexual extortion is Utah Code 76-5b-204.

The most basic example of sexual extortion, and one which pops up time and time again in the courts, is when an ex-boyfriend threatens his ex-girlfriend with distributing nude images she may have provided him during their relationship unless she again has sex with him or provides him addition intimate images. Such conduct is a third degree felony.

How does this crime become “aggravated”?

When the crime is “aggravated” the category of crime increases to either a second or first degree felony. The crime becomes aggravated in a few different ways:

  • First degree felony:
    • When the victim is either a child (anyone under 18 years of age) or a vulnerable adult (an elderly adult who suffers from mental or physical impairment that prohibits him from properly caring for himself).
  • Second degree felony:
    • When violence is used or a dangerous weapon.
    • When the perpetrator causes bodily injury or severe psychological injury.
    • The perpetrator was a stranger to the victim or befriended the victim for the purposes of extorting her.
    • When the perpetrator had been convicted of a prior sexual offense.
    • When the perpetrator was in a position of special trust to the victim.
    • When perpetrator benefits by prostituting the victim or causing the victim to engage in sexual acts with another.
    • When the perpetrator has sex with the victim, which only requires the slightest penetration of the vagina or anus.


In the age of digital media and app-related messaging this crime is charged more and more. Many times it requires the police to track down IP addresses to identify individuals committing this crime. Often times police get it wrong. If you have been accused of sexual extortion or aggravated sexual extortion there are few firms as experienced as Salcido Law Firm in defending against such charges. Call us anytime at 801-413-1753 to talk about your case.