California law excuses a criminal act if someone else forced you to commit the crime. However, duress is not a defense to murder. “A person is not capable of committing a crime under threats sufficient to show that they had reasonable cause to and did believe their lives would be endangered if they refused. The threat generally has to be so great that you did not have time to deliberate intent. You have to believe that your life is in immediate danger. An example would be a threat by another person that they will kill you or your family if you do not commit this crime. A threat that the person will kill you later is not immediate and the defense of duress will not apply.

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