Houston Criminal Law Affirmative Defense of Duress


IMG_2923bDuress as a Defense

Texas Penal Code Sec. 8.05 gives the law on the affirmative defense of  duress. The defense applies in both criminal and juvenile defenses. The compulsion required to force the person to engage in the conduct for a felony offense must be by threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury to himself or another. As to misdemeanor cases, the compulsion required can be by force or threat of force. Cases where this affirmative defense can be successfully used are  encountered much less often than other affirmative defenses such as self defense.

Harris County Criminal Attorney James (Jim) Sullivan has won aggravated assault jury trials based on the defense of self and defense of third party.  Sullivan has had many many such felony cases either dismissed by the State on trial date or even without a trial setting and/or no billed (dismissed) by the grand jury. If you are charged with a criminal offense, contact James Sullivan at (281) 546-6428. Sullivan gets proven results.

Texas Penal Code § 8.05. DURESS. (a) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution that the actor engaged in the proscribed conduct because he was compelled to do so by threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury to himself or another. (b) In a prosecution for an offense that does not constitute a felony, it is an affirmative defense to prosecution that the actor engaged in the proscribed conduct because he was compelled to do so by force or threat of force. (c) Compulsion within the meaning of this section exists only if the force or threat of force would render a person of reasonable firmness incapable of resisting the pressure. (d) The defense provided by this section is unavailable if the actor intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly placed himself in a situation in which it was probable that he would be subjected to compulsion. (e) It is no defense that a person acted at the command or persuasion of his spouse, unless he acted under compulsion that would establish a defense under this section.Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, § 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.

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