New York has a section in its penal code designed specifically for when a person compels another to act or refrain from acting in a lawful manner. Coercion can be in either the first or the third degree, with the former being a class D felony punishable by a maximum of 7 years imprisonment and the latter being a class A misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 1 year imprisonment and/or a $1000 fine. If you have been charged with coercion, call our experienced team of New York criminal attorneys now to discuss your options.
Coercion in the third degree is the lesser of the two charges for coercion, but still serious within its own terms, as the maximum sentence can be a hefty fine or a year in jail. To be guilty of this offense, a person has compelled a person to engage in actions in which they have a legal right to not be engaging in. This could also be charged if a person compels another to join an organization, group or criminal operation by threatening any non-compliance. The threats for non-compliance are defined in nine different categories:
- Threat to cause physical injury to a person
- Threat to cause damage to property
- Engage in other conduct constituting a crime
- Accusing a person of a crime or causing criminal charges to be brought against a person
- Exposing a secret or making information public, even if the information is false, that would subject the person to contempt, ridicule or hatred by others
- Causes a strike, boycott or other collective labor group action that would cause injury to a person’s business
- Threat to provide testimony or information, or withhold testimony or information in regard to a legal claim or defense
- Abuse or use their position as a public servant by acting within their official duties, or fail or refuse to perform an official duty to affect a person adversely
- Perform any act that would not materially benefit the actor but is calculated to harm another person with respect to their health, business, career, safety, reputation, personal relationships or financial condition.
If you find yourself having been charged with coercion, reach out now to our experienced team of New York criminal attorneys now so we can help you mitigate theses charges for the best results possible.
Coercion in the first degree is the more serious of the two charges, leading to a result of up to seven years in prison if convicted. To be guilty of coercion in the first degree, a person must instill in the victim a fear of physical injury or cause property damage by compelling the victim to commit or attempt a felony, attempt or cause physical injury, or violate their duty as a public servant.
If you or someone you know has been charged with coercion in either degree, please reach out now to our experienced team of New York criminal attorneys to discuss what options are available in handling these charges for the best possible outcome.