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New York Penal Law 135.65: Coercion in the first degree

In order to commit coercion, it means you are forcing another person to do something or refrain from doing something against their will. It is a criminal offense that usually involves a specific threat, such as physical violence, exposing a secret or damaging someone’s property. As Per the New York penal law 135.65, you can be charged with this crime and prosecuted for coercion in the first degree for forcing another person to do something by threatening them.

Typical Scenarios Involved in Coercion in the First Degree

Per the New York Penal Law 135.65, in order to commit coercion in the first degree, you must give a threat to another person while forcing them to do something or refrain from doing something. The typical situations involved include:

• Causing physical injury to the person
• Causing damage to another person’s property
• Threats that force a person to commit a felony
• Threats that involve causing physical injury to someone else
• Threats that violate another person’s duty as a public servant

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
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Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
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17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
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20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
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16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
K MarK Mar
01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.

Example of Coercion in the First Degree as Per New York Penal Law 135.65

An example of coercion in the first degree according to the New York Penal Law 135.65 is that there is a woman who is a recovering drug addict who recently relapsed after detoxification and rehab. At the same time that she relapsed, she was in the process of getting custody of her son. However, her drug dealer knows that she recently relapsed. He approaches her and asks her to help him sell drugs, but she refuses. The drug dealer then told the woman that if she didn’t sell drugs with him, he would tell her ex-husband that she was back doing drugs and she would have no chance to regain custody of her son. In this situation, the drug dealer can be charged with and convicted of the crime of coercion in the first degree because he is trying to get the woman to commit a crime by threatening to tell her ex-husband that she is once again abusing drugs.

Possible Defenses for Coercion in the First Degree

In a charge of coercion in the first degree, the prosecutor must prove that another person is suffering some type of injury as a result of your actions and that you intended to injure that person. The type of injury would have to be physical in nature due to the criminal statute. This means that the injury cannot simply be something minor like a small bruise that heals within a week. If you are charged with coercion in the first degree, your NYC criminal lawyer could use the defense that you did not force the other person to commit a felony but that the individual did so of their own free will and that you did not force them to commit a criminal act.

Penalties and Sentences for Coercion in the First Degree

The crime of coercion in the first degree is charged as a class D felony. As a result, the maximum sentence you can receive for it is seven years in prison. However, whether you see any prison time or if you spend less time in prison depends on whether you have a prior criminal history. If you have no prior felony convictions within the past 10 years, the judge may not give you any prison time, but you may receive a probation sentence of five years. However, with a prior felony conviction within the last 10 years, you can receive a prison sentence of two to four years.

New York Penal Law 135.60: Coercion in the second degree

New York Penal Law 135.60 is coercion in the second degree. It’s a form of bribery, and it’s punishable by up to one year in jail. Defined as a Class A misdemeanor, it also comes with the potential for up to three years of probation with or without a jail term for anyone found guilty of this crime in New York. To put it simply, coercion in the second degree is the act of requiring another person to engage in an act or perform a service they do not want to do, are not legally required to do, or they are uncomfortable with using a method of bribery that might compel them to do as they are told.

It’s illegal, it’s dangerous, and it’s often a way people get what they want. Unlike a child who might hear a parent tell them they must clean their room or they will lose their outdoor playtime privileges for a full day, this type of bribery is performed using illegal means. Those who are found guilty could face jail time or probation depending on the recommendation of the judge and those who are filing charges against you when you engage in illegal coercion.

Examples of Coercion in the Second Degree

When a person bribes another person for things they want done, it’s coercion. Take a woman who wants to have her ex-husband to pay her alimony in their divorce. He has no interest in paying her alimony, so she makes the decision to bribe him. She has a tape of the two of them engaging in a very intimate moment from their honeymoon. If he doesn’t agree to pay her alimony, she will take it upon herself to release that tape on the internet. It’s something that will ruin his career, but she doesn’t care.

She’s coercing him to do something she wants done by bribing him with something that will encourage him to do what she wants. It’s illegal, but it leaves the man in a very difficult situation. He now has to make a choice to allow someone to ruin his life or to do something he’s not comfortable doing. He can turn her in for this, and it can cause her to spend serious time in jail if she is found guilty of coercion in the second degree.


There are several defenses you might use in a case like this, but it’s imperative you call for the assistance of a NYC criminal attorney before the process begins. It’s not easy to get off on a charge like this without an attorney present to help you through your trial. The first defense has to do with the injuries the other person sustained. If a person did not sustain serious injuries as a result of coercion in the second degree, it’s possible charges will be dropped.

Injuries could mean anything from financial injury to personal injury to the loss of a job. Without injury, a coercion trial might turn into nothing more than a bribe gone wrong. It might work in your favor if you are the defendant, but it’s not always a guarantee. The other defense is you didn’t coerce anyone into doing anything. The job of an attorney with experience in this type of trial is to help you present your own case and walk way without a prison sentence. It’s possible your defense could take jail off the table and replace it with a minor probation term to serve as your punishment.

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