Circumstances under which duress is used as a defense in a court of law.
Duress or coercion is a common defense used in most state courts of law. Any party using the duress as a defense of a criminal offense must have acted in a circumstance in which the party feared serious bodily injury or sudden death. The condition necessary for duress to be used as a defense in a court of law is that, the defendant must prove that he or she acted to defend himself against immediate danger or bodily injury. The force used must be reasonable as deemed worthy by the court. It is the duty of the defendant to prove that, there was no other way he or she could have used to prevent the action. The person has to show that there were no chances that he or she could have escaped the situation. This is to show that, the party acted out of malice or immoral activity. The court has the responsibility of making a judgement in accordance with the defendant explanations.
The defense is not applicable in situations of serious law violation like murder and rape due to the following reason; in instances of murder, it involves the life of another person. Despite the circumstances of the presence of death or bodily harm, there are other choices that can be taken. This is also the case in rape by extension. There are many available choices that the party could have used instead of murder or rape. Despite many arguments to favor the defense, many courts in the world have rejected duress as a defense for murder or rape. This makes a man to be a rational being.
Carlan, P., Nored, L., & Downey, R. (2011). An Introduction to Criminal Law. New York: Jones & Bartlett Learning.