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NY Penal Law 135 – Kidnapping and Coercion

In this post we’re going to get into some of the terms, definitions, and charges that are involved in crimes of kidnapping and coercion. Let’s start with some definitions first.

Unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping and custodial interference; definitions of terms

First of all, to restrain someone is to restrict their movements in a way that interferes with their liberty by moving them from one place to another, or by confining them somewhere without consent. This lack of consent happens through physical force, intimidation, or any means if it’s a child younger than sixteen or an incompetent person and the parent hasn’t assented to their movement or confinement. Abduct means to restrain someone by putting them somewhere they probably won’t be found or using or threatening deadly force. Relative means a parent, ancestor, sister, brother, aunt or uncle.

Unlawful imprisonment in the second degree

You’re guilty of this when you restrain someone else, and with this you’ll be facing a class A misdemeanor.

Unlawful imprisonment in the first degree

This is when you restrain someone under circumstances that expose the person to a risk of physical injury. This is a class E felony.

Unlawful imprisonment; defense

In any prosecution for unlawful imprisonment, it’s an affirmative defense that the person restrained was younger than sixteen and you were a relative of this child, and the sole purpose was to assume control of the child.

Kidnapping in the second degree

You’re guilty of this when you abduct someone. This is a class B felony.
You’d be guilty of this crime if you abducted someone with the intent to get a ransom from someone else, or if you restrain the person for longer than twelve hours with the intent to inflict an injury or sexually abuse them, commit a felony, terrorize them or a third person, or interfere with the performance of a government function. This is a class A-I felony.

Kidnapping; defense

It’s an affirmative defense for this charge if you’re a relative of the person abducted and your sole purpose was to assume control of the person.

Labor trafficking

To be guilty of this, you’d have to compel someone into labor or transport this person by requiring that the labor repay a supposed debt with the intent of defrauding the person, or withholding, destroying, or even confiscating some sort of legal document from a person in order to limit this person’s freedom of movement. This is a class D felony.

Labor trafficking; accomplice

In prosecution for this crime, someone who’s been compelled to engage in labor won’t be considered an accomplice.
You’re guilty of this crime if you compel someone to engage in labor by giving the person a substance to impair their judgment. This is a class C felony.

Custodial interference in the second degree

You’re guilty of this one if you’re a relative of a child who’s younger than sixteen and intend to take the child permanently even though you have no right to, or if you take someone who’s either incompetent or entrusted by the authority of the law. This crime is a class A misdemeanor.

Custodial interference in the first degree

You’re guilty of this crime if you commit the preceding crime with the intent to permanently remove the victim from New York, or under circumstances that create a risk of endangering the safety of the victim. Keep in mind, it’s an affirmative defense if the victim was abandoned or if this taking was necessary in an emergency to protect the victim from abuse. This is a class E felony.

Substitution of children

To be guilty of this, you’ll have to provide parents with the wrong child after being entrusted with the care of their actual child. This is a class E felony.

Coercion in the second degree

You’re guilty of this crime when you compel someone to engage in conduct that they have a legal right not to do, or make them not engage in conduct they have a legal right to do, or compel them to join a group by using fear that you’ll cause injury to them, damage their property, or engage in conduct that would be considered a crime. This is a class A misdemeanor.

Coercion in the first degree

To be guilty of this, you’ll have to have committed the preceding crime and commit this crime by instilling fear in the victim that you’ll cause physical injury to that person or damage their property, or if you compel the victim to commit or attempt a felony, cause or try to cause physical injury, or violate your duty if you’re a public servant. This crime is a class D felony.

Coercion; no defense

The crimes of coercion and bribe receiving by a labor official are not mutually exclusive, and it isn’t a defense that because of the conduct, the defendant committed one of the crimes of bribe receiving.

Coercion; defense.

In any prosecution for coercion that’s committed by instilling fear in a victim that they’ll be charged with a crime, it’s an affirmative defense that you believed the charge to be true and your only purpose was to compel the victim to take action to make good the wrong.


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"Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them..."

David Bruce

"Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet."

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"Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind."

Francis Anim
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