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
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.