Ask anybody and they will probably tell you the same thing: Under no circumstances should you ever commit a crime. However, when a crime is committed under duress, this is not necessarily true. You might not know what duress is and whether or not it always constitutes a criminal behavior. Today we will look at this more in-depth.
Has the Defendant Been Deprived of Free Will?
Were you, the defendant, deprived of free will when your crime was committed? Perhaps somebody threatened to kill you and had a loaded gun to your head at the time. This would constitute committing a crime when somebody tells you to do so. However, the threat must be imminent. If somebody tells you that they’re going to kill you but it’s online and the threat won’t take place for another day, you have a chance to talk with police. You can only commit these crimes if there was a reasonable fear for your life or the safety of your loved ones.
The issue is, some people don’t know if either words or actions can constitute a crime that is committed under duress. The truth is, either words or actions (like the threat of somebody killing you, or the threat of an actual gun to the head) can constitute duress crimes and you will be protected according to the law in many cases. However, to prove that the crime had to be committed, you have to actually show that the crime would immediately be acted on. A simple threat is usually not enough. Perhaps the person has a weapon with them and you know that your life could be in danger.
There also have to be no other means of escape. If the shooter leaves the room and you know that there is a way out of the situation, the law states that you are supposed to take every mean necessary to stop a murder from happening.
Do you have questions about how duress works because you believe you have committed a crime in this way and wonder what rights you have? We are here for you every step of the way. Call us for more information.