When Might I Claim Duress in My Criminal Defense?

Harrell & Paulson

You may have a concerning future ahead of you if you are charged with a crime in the state of Texas. But we understand that you may have never intended to commit this crime in the first place. Rather, your case may be that you were forced into it. Follow along to find out when it may be in your best interest to claim duress and how a proficient Kaufman County, Texas criminal defense lawyer at Harrell & Paulson, LLP can dedicatedly vouch for your innocence.

Under What Circumstances Might I Claim Duress in My Criminal Defense?

First of all, a defense of duress may be made if you committed a crime only because you were faced with the threat or the use of physical force. There are several elements of duress that you must prove as true in your argument, and they are as follows:

  1. You had a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily harm if you did not cooperate with another party.

  2. You had reasonable fear due to the words or actions of another party.

  3. You had no reasonable opportunity to escape the threats of another party.

  4. You were ultimately involved in this criminal activity due to no fault of your own.

You must keep in mind that the prosecution will do everything in its power to poke holes in your argument and overall disprove your defense of duress. So, it may be in your best interest to avoid the following admittances:

  • You cannot admit that the other party threatened someone close to you; rather, such a threat should have been directed toward you.

  • You cannot admit that you were fearful due to past interactions or of future interactions with the other party; rather, such fear should have taken place in the present.

  • You cannot admit that a reasonable individual would have acted differently; rather, you could not have reasonably fled the scene or stopped interaction with the other party.

How Is Duress Different from Necessity?

Both duress and necessity may be considered defenses to being forced to commit a crime to avoid serious harm. Though, there is a distinction between the two. This is because the defense of necessity involves a choice between two bad alternatives that could not be avoided. Further, such bad alternatives arise from the circumstances surrounding the incident rather than the actions of a particular party involved. Overall, you may claim necessity if your committing of a crime was due to factors well beyond your reasonable control.

With all things considered, you should not have to go through your criminal defense proceedings alone. Instead, you should seek the assistance of a talented Kaufman County, Texas criminal defense lawyer from Harrell & Paulson, LLP. Contact our firm today.