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NY Penal Law § 135.60: Coercion in the Second Degree

June 28, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

The crime of coercion and the crime of bribery are akin to each other. It entails one person forcing another person to do, or to refrain from doing something against that individual’s will. Coercion customarily involves some type of threat, including but not limited to the threat of physical violence, of damaging a person’s physical property or the exposing a secret. You could be prosecuted for coercion in the second degree under New York Penal Law section 135.60 if you attempt to force a person to do something by threatening to:


  • Cause them physical injury
  • Cause to damage their personal property
  • Report someone to the authorities for the commission a crime
  • Expose a sensitive secret
  • Incite a collective labor group action, such as a labor strike or boycott
  • Testify or withhold testimony in a court of law
  • Abuse your position as a public servant to adversely affect someone
  • Cause harm to another person’s safety, health, career, business, reputation or personal relationships


For Example

In the case of the People v. Piznarski, 113 AD3d 166 (2013), the defendant, Mr. Michael Piznarski, and the victim were in a dating relationship. When they were together on one occasion, Mr. Piznarski secretly recorded the victim perform oral sex on him. After Piznarski and the victim ended their relationship, Mr. Piznarksi informed the victim that he had the video of her. He threatened her her that he would upload the video to the internet unless she agreed to have sex with him. On the basis of this incident, Piznarksi was charged with coercion in the second degree.


Offenses that are Related

Coercion in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 135.65

Bribery in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 200.04

Bribery in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 200.03

Bribery in the third degree: New York Penal Law § 200.00


Possible Defenses

Dependent upon the specific details of your case, there could be a number of defenses against a charge of coercion in the second degree. If you were charged on the basis of the fact that the victim suffered a physical injury, then a potential defense would be that the victim’s injury was not serious enough to classify as a physical injury as defined by New York’s criminal statute.


The Sentence

Coercion in the second degree is categorized as a class A misdemeanor. The maximum possible jail sentence you can serve for this crime is 1 year. The judge might opt to sentence you to probation instead of a jail term. The probation term you would get would be 3 years.



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