Friday

Houston Criminal Law Affirmative Defense of Duress



 

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. Last month, this Harris county criminal defense trial 
attorney won won an aggravated assault jury trial based on the defense
of self and defense of third party. He has had many many
such 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, call James (Jim) Sullivan
right now at 281-546-6428. 
 
 
§ 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.