New York Penal Law § 135.60 – Coercion in the Third Degree
Coercion in the Third Degree is a crime prohibiting a person from compelling another to either do something they have a legal right not to do or compelling them to not do something they have a legal right to do. Coercion of the Third Degree also makes it illegal to tell another person the actor will release nude photos of another person unless they comply with the actor’s demands. Coercion in the Third Degree is a Class A misdemeanor.The Elements of Coercion in the Third Degree
Before a judge or jury can convict anyone of Coercion in the Third Degree, the government must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of Coercion in the Third Degree are:
- The defendant did one of the following:
- Compelled another to do something they had a legal right not to do;
- Compelled another to refrain from doing something they had a legal right to do;
- Compelled someone to join an organization or criminal group; or
- Compelled someone to produce, distribute or otherwise display images depicting nudity or them engaging in sexual conduct; and
- The defendant did so by creating a fear in the victim that, if the defendant’s demands were not met, they would do one of the following:
- Physically injure another person; or
- Cause damage to property; or
- Commit a crime; or
- Accuse another person of a crime; or
- Expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule; or
- Cause a strike, boycott or other collective labor group action injurious to some person's business; or
- Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information related to a pending legal claim or defense; or
- Use or abuse his or her position as a public servant; or
- Perform any other act which would not in itself materially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person; or
- Report his or her immigration status or suspected immigration status.
There are many possible examples of Coercion in the third degree, some of which include:
- A person tells their former partner that they will release nude pictures taken during the course of the relationship unless the defendant’s former partner has sex with the defendant.
- A potential witness in a civil or criminal case withholds information unless one of the parties pays the person a sum of money.
- A man compels his ex-wife to relinquish custody of their children by placing her in fear for her safety.
Often, prosecutors bring Coercion in the Third Degree charges along with one or more of the following:
- Coercion in the Second Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 135.61
- Coercion in the First Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 135.65
- Bribery in the Third Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 200.00
- Bribery in the Second Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 200.03
- Bribery in the First Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 200.04
- Corrupt Use of Position or Authority – N.Y. Penal Law § 200.56
- Unlawful Collection Practices – N.Y. Penal Law § 190.50
There are several defenses to Coercion in the Third Degree that can either reduce your sentencing exposure or result in the prosecution withdrawing the case against you or the jury returning a “not guilty” verdict. The most common defenses include the following:
- Your actions did not amount to “compulsion”;
- The person you communicated with was under a legal duty to engage in the conduct or refrain from engaging in the conduct; or
- The victim’s fear of any potential consequences was not reasonable or did not come from you or anyone acting on your behalf.
Of course, there are many potential Coercion defenses, depending on the specific facts at issue. An experienced NY criminal defense attorney can help you better understand what defenses may apply to your case.What Are the Penalties for Violating NY Penal Law § 135.60?
Coercion in the Third Degree is a Class A misdemeanor. In New York, Class A misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 or, in cases involving monetary gain, up to twice the amount of the value of the property.Speak with an Experienced New York Coercion Defense Lawyer About Your Case Today
If you were recently arrested and charged with Coercion in the Third Degree, it is important that you understand what’s at stake and what you can do to prevent a conviction. At Tilem & Associates, P.C., we have decades of experience aggressively defending clients facing coercion, bribery, and other similar offenses, and we know what it takes to reach the outcome you are looking for. We are immediately available to meet with you to get started working on a compelling defense to the charges you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-377-8666. You can also reach us through our online contact form.