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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.

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!
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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
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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
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01:37 25 Jan 24
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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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