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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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New York Penal Law %c2%a7 135 65 Coercion First Degree

By Spodek Law Group | July 17, 2023
(Last Updated On: July 27, 2023)

Last Updated on: 27th July 2023, 04:32 pm

Understanding the Serious Charge of Coercion in the First Degree in New York

New York Penal Law § 135.65 defines the felony offense of Coercion in the First Degree. This crime involves the use or threat of force to improperly influence or intimidate someone to engage in or refrain from certain conduct.

What Makes it First Degree?

Coercion rises to the first-degree level when it involves a threat to commit a violent felony. Under NY law, violent felonies are serious Class B offenses like:

– Murder
– Kidnapping
– Arson
– Manslaughter
– Robbery

Threatening any violent felony against someone to influence their actions makes it first-degree coercion.


Some examples of first-degree coercion include:

– Threatening to murder or kidnap someone unless they pay money.
– Threatening to burn down someone’s business unless they drop a lawsuit.
– Threatening to physically harm someone’s family member to make them falsify records.

The threatened felony act does not actually need to be carried out to commit coercion. The threat itself is the criminal act.


There are strategies to raise doubt and fight a coercion charge, such as:

– The threat was exaggerated or made out of anger but not intended to be acted upon.
– The “threat” was simply a warning about potential danger, not a threat.
– The accuser fabricated the coercion claim for ulterior motives.
– Mistaken identity – the defendant did not commit the alleged threats.

An experienced NY criminal defense lawyer can evaluate the available defenses and challenge the prosecution’s evidence.

Penalties Upon Conviction

First-degree coercion is a Class D felony in New York, carrying:

– Up to 7 years in state prison.
– Fines up to $5,000.
– Parole supervision after release.

Probation may be possible for those with no prior felonies. Immigration consequences also apply for non-citizens.

If threats involve non-violent felonies or misdemeanors, it becomes Coercion 2nd Degree. Coercion against a witness to influence testimony is Coercion 3rd.

The degree depends on the nature of the threat and intent. But all coercion charges should be taken very seriously.

Get a Strong Defense

Don’t go it alone against a felony coercion charge. The legal landscape is complex. An experienced NY criminal defense lawyer can protect your rights, avoid missteps, and build an aggressive defense.

From reviewing the evidence, investigating the case, negotiating with prosecutors, to taking it trial if warranted – skilled legal guidance is critical.

Contact our office today to schedule a free case evaluation. An attorney can assess your options, answer all questions, and begin building your customized defense strategy. With an expert lawyer on your side, there are always options and hope for the best possible outcome.

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