First Degree Coercion: NY Penal Law 135.65

Significantly more serious than the misdemeanor “variety” of Coercion, First Degree Coercion is a felony offense that can, and routinely does, land the convicted in either a county jail or state penitentiary. In fact, New York Penal Law 135.65 is a class “D” felony with a sentence as great as two and one third to seven years in prison. With this potential punishment in mind, before reading further, take a moment to let the severity and magnitude of this penalty simmer. Having now done so, if you are arrested for NY Penal Law 135.65, First Degree Coercion, in New York City or anywhere in the Hudson Valley, be sure to retain the best criminal lawyer to implement your strongest defense. Only then is it possible to secure your exoneration or least minimize your criminal exposure.

NY Penal Law 135.65: Elements of First Degree Coercion

You cannot adequately defend yourself against an arrest, indictment or trial charging you with any Coercion crime if you do not know the elements of the offense. You are guilty of First Degree Coercion if you commit the crime of Second Degree Coercion and you also:

  1. Instill fear in your intended victim that you will cause a physical injury to that person or cause damage to their property; or
  2. You compel your intended victim to:
    1. Commit or attempt to commit a felony; or
    2. Cause or attempt to cause physical injury to another person; or
    3. Violate your duty as a public servant.

Although the statutory language of First Degree Coercion and Second Degree Coercion are different, it is important to note that PL 135.65 shares two elements with its lesser misdemeanor sibling. Therefore, prosecutors in the District Attorney’s Office where your case is pending will have the discretion to charge you with either a felony or misdemeanor.

Again, whether it is the Manhattan District Attorney, Westchester District Attorney, Rockland District Attorney or Brooklyn District Attorney, in the event you compel a person to act in a manner you seek, whatever that may be, and you do so in a threatening damage to their property or causing them some form of physical injury, expect the firm hand of the criminal justice system to seek your accountability.

Coercion v. Extortion, Blackmail and Related Crimes

Remember, Coercion in any degree is not the same thing as either Extortion or Blackmail by Grand Larceny. Coercion is the threat to induce someone to do something they have a right to abstain from or the reverse. Extortion is a crime that can be equal or greater in terms of punishment and involves many similar elements, but Blackmail mandates that the accused secure property from his or her victim.

Regardless of the degree of Coercion you may be prosecuted for and irrespective of whether a Grand Jury indicts you for a felony, judges, juries and prosecutors often have little patience for one party blatantly victimizing another. Is there a misunderstanding? Are you actually the victim? What evidence exists beyond the words of the complainant? Is there a video, text message, voice recording or even a witness to corroborate the threat attributed to you?

Whatever your defense may be, a “D” felony First Degree Coercion charge is one that requires significant review and a defense that is orchestrated in a manner that will put you in a position to best challenge the allegations. Failure to do so may or may not leave you incarcerated but will saddle you with a life altering and career decimating criminal record.

When accused of any crime in New York City and the Hudson Valley, take the steps to protect yourself and contact the New York Coercion defense lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC so advocacy, knowledge and experience can be your best defense.

Call our criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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