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An experienced Maryland Criminal Attorney must have a thorough understanding of the defense of coercion and duress which is also called a necessity defense. I represented a defendant in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County Maryland today in which I investigated a necessity defense but ultimately concluded that such a defense was not viable under the particular facts of this case. Before going into the facts of my case today, here is a synopsis of the coercion and duress or necessity defense.

It is a defense to all crimes other than the taking of a life of an innocent person that the defendant acted under coercion or duress. The most common defense of this type is self-defense or its cousin, defense of others. It also applies to situtions where a person is coerced into committing a crime by an imminent and impending threat of death or serious bodily injury if the act is not committed. There also must not have been an opportunity to escape. If there was a legitmate opportunity to escape that is not acted upon, then the defense is not available. This is essentially the situation that I was faced with in my case and why I was unable to use the duress and coercion or necessity defense.
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Maryland Criminal Attorney – Maryland Criminal Lawyer – Baltimore Criminal Attorney – Baltimore Criminal Lawyer – I had a client today who is 16 years old and is alleged to have committed a robbery with a knife. He is charged as an adult which was confusing and disturbing to both him and his parents. I explained to them that a juvenile can be charged as an adult in the first instance (that is original jurisdiction vests with the Circuit Court) if the person is charged with second degree murder, second or third degree sex offenses, second or third degree rape, most handgun charges, armed robbery, kidnapping, involuntary manslaughter, carjacking, first degree assault, attempted murder, robbery or rape or any other felony if the juvenile has been previously adjudicated as an adult. A child of the age of 14 or 15 will also be charged in the first instance as an adult if he or she is charged with an offense which carries either life imprisonment or the death penalty if committed by an adult which includes first degree murder, first degree rape or sexual offense or any attempts of these offenses. Also in any other case a 15 year old can be tried as an adult if the court grants the State’s motion for waiver of jurisdiction. The State will sometimes file these motions for cases of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, heroin, marijuana or other drugs or other felonies if the juvenile has a particularly bad record. Once this motion is filed the court will order the Department of Juvenile Services to conduct a study of the juvenile and will make it’s determination as to whether to order the case to be transferred to the adult system based on five factors: the age of the child, the mental an physical condition of the child, the child’s ameniability to treatment, the nature of the offense and the child’s participation in it and the public safety.
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