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New York Penal Law 135 60 Coercion Second Degree

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

Last Updated on: 17th October 2023, 04:52 pm

New York Penal Law 135.60: Coercion in the Second Degree

New York Penal Law 135.60 covers the crime of coercion in the second degree. This law makes it illegal to compel or induce someone to engage or not engage in conduct they have a legal right to choose for themselves. It also prohibits forcing someone to join a group or organization they have a right to not join.

Overview of Coercion in the Second Degree

Coercion in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor under New York law. This means it is punishable by up to one year in jail. To be guilty of coercion in the second degree, you must use threats to coerce the victim. Threats could include:

  • Threatening to cause physical injury to a person
  • Threatening to damage property
  • Threatening to accuse someone of a crime
  • Threatening to expose a secret, whether true or false
  • Threatening to cause a strike or boycott against someone’s business
  • Threatening to testify against someone or withhold testimony
  • Abusing power as a public official to adversely impact someone
  • Threatening to harm someone’s health, safety, business, career, reputation, or relationships

Some examples of coercion in the second degree:

  • An abusive partner threatens to destroy their victim’s property if they try to leave the relationship
  • A business threatens an employee with termination unless they vote for a certain political candidate
  • A student is forced to join a gang and commit crimes after being threatened with physical violence


There are several defenses that may apply in coercion cases:

  • Lack of intent: The threats were not intended to control the victim’s actions.
  • No actual threat: The supposed “threats” did not constitute true threats of harm.
  • Justification: The actions were legally justified based on the circumstances.
  • False accusations: The victim falsely alleged coercion that did not occur.
  • Mental defect: The defendant lacked criminal responsibility due to mental disease or defect.


Coercion in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Up to three years probation
  • Fines up to $1,000

Probation or a conditional discharge are common sentences for misdemeanors. But the court may impose jail time depending on the circumstances.

  • Coercion in the first degree – Class D felony
  • Coercion in the third degree – Class A misdemeanor
  • Stalking
  • Menacing
  • Harassment

Consulting a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Coercion charges should not be taken lightly given the possible jail sentence. An experienced NY criminal defense attorney can argue for dismissal or acquittal by challenging the prosecution’s evidence and raising doubts about intent. They may also be able to negotiate a plea bargain to a lesser offense or get the charges reduced. Anyone facing coercion charges would be wise to exercise their right to legal counsel.

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