Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary
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- The use of force, false imprisonment, coercion, threats, or psychological pressure to compel someone to act contrary to his or her wishes or interests. If, for example, duress is used to make a person sign an agreement or execute a will, a court may find the document null and void. A defendant in a criminal prosecution may raise the defense that others used duress to force him or her to take part in a crime.