Duress

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Duress or coercion is a defense to all crimes except murder. To successfully establish the defense of coercion, the defendant must present evidence that he performed the criminal action under the threat of imminent infliction of death or great bodily harm to him or a third person. The defendant must present evidence that he reasonably believed the threat of death or great bodily harm would be used if he did not perform the criminal action.

Coercion is very similar to the defense of necessity. It differs in that necessity involves pressure from physical or natural forces, rather than human actions. The classic example of coercion is "putting a gun to someone's head" to compel action. If there is evidence that the defendant committed the act in question only because he was threatened with physical harm, you should explore a coercion defense.


See Defenses