You can still be charged with a crime even if you claim that you were forced into committing it. People are sometimes threatened and ordered to do things that they normally never would have done, but that does not mean that someone can go free simply because they say that they had no choice but to go forward with it. If you were forced to commit a crime, you are going to have to show that in court. A Mercer County criminal defense lawyer can help you do that.
What is the Duress Defense?
A “duress defense” is just what it sounds like. If you can show that you only committed the crime under duress, then you may be able to form a defensive strategy. Even if this cannot get you acquitted, you may be able to plea down to lesser charges and receive a lesser sentence.
However, it is important to note that this type of defense does not really work in murder trials. If you kill someone because you or a loved one have been threatened with death, the duress defense will probably not be accepted. You cannot just take another person’s life and trade it for someone else’s.
What Do I Need to Show to Prove I Was Forced Into Committing a Crime?
When you are arguing for the duress defense, you must show that:
- You had a reasonable fear of death or serious harm
- You did not have any way to escape the situation
- You could not have contacted the police about this
- You did not force this situation to occur
A duress defense can fall apart if it is not well put together.
How Can the State Argue That I Wasn’t Forced Into Committing a Crime?
The prosecutor is unlikely to hear your claims and drop the charges against you. Instead, they are going to try and show that your defense is not adequate. You were not really under duress because:
- You could have contacted the police
- You did not make a real effort to extricate yourself from this conflict
- Your fear of this person making the threat was not a reasonable fear
How Can a Defense Attorney Help Me?
This is why it can be helpful to have a seasoned defense attorney on your side. A lawyer from our firm will do everything that they can to bolster your defense and fight back against the prosecution’s mischaracterization of the entire situation. The person who made you commit the crime should be facing charges, not you. We will help you show that.
Talk to Our Legal Team
If you have been charged with a crime, you do not want to waste any time. Contact the Law Office of Douglas Herring and schedule a consultation. We can tell you more about your options and figure out if a duress defense is the right path forward for you.