Legal Dictionary

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Coercion

Coercion is the use of force or the threat of force to get someone to do something that he or she would not otherwise do, such as shoot someone or rob a bank. In a criminal case, the defendant can use a coercion defense to a criminal allegation if someone forced him to commit the crime. For example, if Ed holds a gun to Joe's head and tells him he's going to die if he doesn't break Frank's kneecaps, Joe can use the defense of coercion to have his assault charges dismissed or the punishment diminished. Coercion is also referred to as duress.