New York Coercion Laws

New York Coercion laws and crimes have changed effective November 2018. New York Penal Law Section 135.61 replaces New York Penal Law Section 135.60 as the "new" Second Degree Coercion making the latter the Third Degree offense. This new class "E" felony adopts much of it’s language from the misdemeanor version but adds a new and critical element. Second Degree Coercion carries with it a potential maximum sentence of four years in prison.

If an individual threatens a person and pressures him/her into acting in a certain manner that he/she could otherwise legally pursue on his/her own or convinces that person not to engage in a legal behavior, then that individual may have violated the New York Penal Law. More specifically, if the individual’s intended purpose was to force the other party into some form of sexual intercourse or legally defined act that is considered "anal or oral sexual conduct", then New York Penal Law Section 135.61’s elements are likely satisfied as long as the compulsion involved one or more of the following:

  • the threat of physical injury
  • damage to property (even insignificant damage)
  • accusations of criminal wrongdoing
  • the sharing of an alleged fact, irrespective of whether it is true, that would subject the purported victim to ridicule
  • behaving in any other way that would not benefit the individual but is calculated to materially harm the purported victim in his/her business, relationships, health and/or other areas of life

It is important to note that prosecutors can allege more than one theory of a case and charge an individual under more than one subsection of the law. For example, if there is a threat of physical injury and that is why the purported victim agrees to sexual intercourse, then that individual may have also violated First Degree Coercion, a class "D" felony and faces a potential maximum sentence of seven years in prison.