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Can I Be Charged With a Crime If I Was Forced Into Committing It?

If you commit a crime because you were forced to, that does not automatically absolve you. Your actions still harmed people, so you can be charged and end up looking at some severe potential penalties. You should not waste any time here. You need to talk to a Des Moines criminal defense lawyer from our firm. We can help you figure out how to build a defense and poke holes in the prosecution’s case against you.

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Can I Use the Duress Defense If I Was Forced to Commit a Crime?

When people claim that they were forced into committing a crime, they often use the “duress defense.” They committed a crime under duress, and thus they had no real control of the situation. They never would have taken this action if they had not been forced to, so they should not be charged with a crime.

If you claim that this is what happened to you, you are going to have to go to the effort and show it. This is an affirmative defense, so you have to show actual evidence of the duress that caused you to commit a crime. The court and jury would not simply take your word for it.

How Can I Show I Was Forced Into Committing a Crime?

To show that your duress defense is valid, you must prove the different elements of duress. You will have to show that:

  • You faced imminent threat of death or serious harm
  • Your fear was reasonable by an objective standard
  • You had no way to escape said threat
  • You did not instigate or cause this situation to occur

You may also be able to use the duress defense if someone else, like a family member, was threatened with death. It can be tough to prove all of the elements and show that you really had no other choice to make in this situation. It is also important to note that this defense is not often useable during a murder trial. You do not get to trade one life for another even when under duress.

Do I Need a Defense Attorney?

Defending yourself from serious criminal charges can be difficult. You will want an experienced attorney on your side, one who can gather the needed evidence and make convincing arguments on your behalf. We will do our best to argue that this was a unique situation and that you would never have harmed someone if not for the threat hanging over your head.

Contact Our Law Firm Today

If you have been charged with a crime, you need to make your defense a top priority. Contact Herting Law, PLLC before you try and make any deal with the police or prosecutor. We can schedule a consultation and examine your case closely. Then we can help you build the best possible defense.

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