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NY Penal Law § 135.60: Coercion in the second degree

The crime of coercion is similar to the crime of bribery. It involves one person forcing another person to do, or to refrain from doing something against that person's will. Coercion usually involves some sort of threat such as the threat of physical violence, damage to property or exposing a secret. Under New York Penal Law section 135.60 you could be prosecuted for coercion in the second degree if you try to force someone to do something by threatening to:

  1. Cause physical injury
  2. Cause damage to property
  3. Accuse someone of a crime
  4. Expose a secret
  5. Cause a collection labor group action such as a strike or boycott
  6. Testify or withhold testimony
  7. Use position as a public servant to adversely affect someone
  8. Harm another person's health, safety, business, career, reputation or personal relationships

In People v. Piznarski, 113 AD3d 166 (2013) defendant Michael Piznarski and the victim dated. Piznarski secretly recorded the victim perform oral sex on him. After Piznarski and the victim broke up, Piznarksi informed the victim that he had made the videotape. He also told her that he would upload the video to the internet unless she had sex with him. Based on this incident Piznarksi was charged with coercion in the second degree.

Related Offenses
  1. Coercion in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 135.65
  2. Bribery in the third degree: New York Penal Law § 200.00
  3. Bribery in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 200.03
  4. Bribery in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 200.04

Depending on the specific facts of your case, there may be a number of defenses to a charge of coercion in the second degree. If the charge is based on the victim suffering a physical injury, then a possible defense would be that the victim's injury was not serious enough to be a physical injury as defined by New York's criminal statute.


Coercion in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor. The maximum possible jail sentence is 1 year. The judge may decide to sentence you to probation instead of jail. The probation term would be 3 years.

New York Penal Law § 135.60: Coercion in the second degree

A person is guilty of coercion in the second degree when he or she compels or induces a person to engage in conduct which the latter has a legal right to abstain from engaging in, or to abstain from engaging in conduct in which he or she has a legal right to engage, or compels or induces a person to join a group, organization or criminal enterprise which such latter person has a right to abstain from joining, by means of instilling in him or her a fear that, if the demand is not complied with, the actor or another will:

  1. Cause physical injury to a person; or
  2. Cause damage to property; or
  3. Engage in other conduct constituting a crime; or
  4. Accuse some person of a crime or cause criminal charges to be instituted against him or her; or
  5. Expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule; or
  6. Cause a strike, boycott or other collective labor group action injurious to some person's business; except that such a threat shall not be deemed coercive when the act or omission compelled is for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act; or
  7. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another's legal claim or defense; or
  8. Use or abuse his or her position as a public servant by performing some act within or related to his or her official duties, or by failing or refusing to perform an official duty, in such manner as to affect some person adversely; or
  9. Perform any other act which would not in itself materially benefit the actor but which is calculated to harm another person materially with respect to his or her health, safety, business, calling, career, financial condition, reputation or personal relationships.
Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Even though coercion in the second degree is a misdemeanor, there are serious consequences to a conviction. You could end up in jail and you will have a criminal record. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with coercion, kidnapping, assault, stalking, and other serious crimes. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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