The New York Penal Law defines duress in the following manner:
1. In any prosecution for an offense, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant engaged in the proscribed conduct because he was coerced to do so by the use or threatened imminent use of unlawful physical force upon him or a third person, which force or threatened force a person of reasonable firmness in his situation would have been unable to resist.
2. The defense of duress as defined in subdivision one of this section is not available when a person intentionally or recklessly places himself in a situation in which it is probable that he will be subjected to duress.
Thus, if you are threatened with physical force or if physical force was used against you and a person with reasonable resolution would have engaged in the criminal activity as you did, then you may be able to use duress as a defense. However, note that in part two of the penal law that you must not have “intentionally” or “recklessly” put yourself in the situation. That means that if you are someone who is making bad decisions, you may not be able to use duress as a defense.