Compulsion or Duress


The defenses of coercion, duress, or compulsion are available in kidnapping prosecutions.  These generally refer to situations in which a defendant charged with a crime asserts that s/he committed the offense under a threat from another person to do harm to the defendant if the defendant did not commit the crime.  The defense of duress is available when the defendant is coerced to engage in unlawful conduct by the threat or use of unlawful physical force of such degree that a person of reasonable firmness could not resist.  To establish a defense of duress or coercion, a defendant must show s/he was under an unlawful threat of such nature as to induce an apprehension of death or serious bodily injury.