Code of the District of Columbia

§ 22–3252. Blackmail.

(a) A person commits the offense of blackmail when that person, with intent to obtain property of another or to cause another to do or refrain from doing any act, threatens to:

(1) Accuse another person of a crime;

(2) Expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject another person to hatred, contempt, ridicule, embarrassment, or other injury to reputation;

(3) Impair the reputation of another person, including a deceased person;

(4) Distribute a photograph, video, or audio recording, whether authentic or inauthentic, tending to subject another person to hatred, contempt, ridicule, embarrassment, or other injury to reputation; or

(5) Notify a federal, state, or local government agency or official of, or publicize, another person's immigration or citizenship status.

(b) Any person convicted of blackmail shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.


(Dec. 1, 1982, D.C. Law 4-164, § 152, 29 DCR 3976; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 205(u), 60 DCR 2064; Apr. 26, 2019, D.C. Law 22-308, § 2, 66 DCR 907.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3852.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 23-546.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 substituted “not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01” for “not more than $1,000” in (b).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 205(u) of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.