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Understanding coercion when you face criminal charges

Facing criminal charges is understandably frightening. If you care about your future and want to get your life back on track, it is imperative that you fight for your rights and clear your name. Doing this on your own is difficult, but with a legal representative to help, you can navigate the criminal justice system. One of the factors that any skilled attorney should consider is whether coercion played a role in the charges.

Coercion refers to persuading somebody to action with the power of undue influence, force or threat. Unfortunately, this is a major component of many crimes and the resulting criminal charges. Here is what you should know about coercion. 

Your plea must be voluntary

Sometimes, coercion influences the plea somebody enters to their charges. According to the Bureau of Justice Assistance, some prosecutors used threats to coerce defendants and pressure them into accepting plea deals. There are many reasons prosecutors may do this, and they are not the only ones. Law enforcement may attempt to elicit confessions under coercion, too.

Context to crime is vital

Coercion may have been at play when a crime was supposedly committed, too. An offense that occurred as a result of physical threat or duress is, of course, one that occurred due to coercion. Courts should consider it in its full context, and any court trying the case should be aware of the surrounding circumstances. Needless to say, this could significantly change the outcome of the case. 

Coercion is a crime

It is worth noting that coercion in and of itself is a crime. If somebody pressures you to commit any detrimental action for the sake of his or her own benefit, that person committed coercion and should be accountable for his or her actions. You should not underestimate the prevalence and seriousness of this crime in the legal system.

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