Wrongly Accused: Criminal Defense 101

« Back to Home

Is Duress a Good Criminal Defense?

Posted on

For so many people who face trial over criminal charges, putting together a strong defense is very difficult. Even an innocent person can struggle to adequately defend themselves in court. Unfortunately, many people don't realize that a strong defense is possible.

Duress is one such criminal defense many people turn to when they face criminal charges.

Understanding Duress

First, it is important to understand duress as a possible criminal defense. If somebody committed a crime under duress, they are admitting to committing the crime but only because they were under threat of physical force or something similar.

In order to use this kind of defense appropriately, you will have to show that you had no other choice but to commit the act. You may even show that it was better than the alternative or that you were protecting somebody else from more severe harm.

When Duress Is Not Effective

Duress is often most effectively used for lesser offenses. When it is used for very serious offenses like homicide, it is dangerous. In many courts, threats are not enough of a basis to commit homicide. An exception is often made for self-defense cases.

The court may also not consider duress a strong defense if the defendant played a significant role in the reason why the incident occurred. For instance, an individual may not have a strong duress defense if they started a physical fight and then claimed they had to assault somebody because they fought back.

Affirmative Defense Requires a Lot of Evidence

Since duress is an affirmative defense, meaning that the defendant is admitting to committing a crime, the defendant needs to present a lot of evidence. Evidence must show that duress was present and created a very dangerous circumstance that required the defendant's action.

Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney

Ultimately, every case is different. An affirmative defense is not always a good idea, but many people do not realize that it may be the best strategy to fight back against criminal charges. An attorney is well-suited to help you plan a strategy for fighting the prosecution's case against you.

It is a good idea to hire a criminal defense attorney no matter what criminal charges you face. Duress may be a strong defense in your case, but you should always run your idea through a criminal defense attorney first. Fortunately, you can make an appointment with a professional today.