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Correctional officer claims duress in face of drug charges

People commit crimes for various reasons. Some may seek personal gain, and others may know no other way of life. However, sometimes a person engages in an illegal act because he or she believes there is no choice, especially if the accused feels the threat of bodily harm. One New Hampshire correctional officer who is facing drug charges says his conduct was due to duress.

If someone accused of a crime can prove that another party used threats to force him or her to commit the crime, a court might excuse the acts. While no details of the defense strategy have been released, the accused correctional officer is claiming such duress occurred during the nearly two years he worked at the jail. Within that time, prison officials became aware that drugs were allegedly being smuggled to inmates. Although one officer has been arrested, officials say they believe the problem is more wide spread.

The officer was arrested at the beginning of one of his shifts in late March. Authorities claim he was carrying about $5,000 worth of fentanyl and cocaine at the time of his arrest. He is facing charges of possession with intent to distribute to prisoners, a special felony with enhanced penalties for convictions. If the officer is found guilty, he may receive up to 37 years in prison and nearly $600,000 in fines.

Because of the special felony status of these charges and his position as a correctional officer, the man is likely concerned about what his future holds. He has a limited time to submit his claims of duress. Those who use this defense strategy may require an experienced advocate to represent their interests. A New Hampshire attorney with successful results defending against drug charges at every level will build a strong case and work tirelessly to protect the rights of the accused.

Source: unionleader.com, "Corrections officer accused of drug smuggling to claim duress", Kimberley Haas, June 21, 2017

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