Entrapment is a defense where police encourage a person to commit an offense that they wouldn’t otherwise have committed. The defense works under the assumption that a normal person would have resisted temptation if not for intervention by law enforcement personnel.
Can a Person Use the Entrapment Defense?
One can claim their innocence of a crime due to entrapment if:
- The idea for the offense came from police and not the defendant. If one approaches an undercover police officer to buy illegal drugs, they have not been entrapped.
- The officer performed an action that encouraged the person to commit an offense. Merely providing the chance to commit a crime doesn’t constitute an entrapment; the officer must actively persuade or encourage the defendant to act.
- The person did not plan to commit the offense before the officer’s encouragement.
- A normal person wouldn’t believe that the person planned to commit a crime before the officer encouraged the act.
Is it Entrapment if an Officer Lies About Their Identity?
No, it isn’t. Police officers are legally allowed to lie when they work undercover. Therefore, if one asks an undercover police officer if they’re a cop and they deny it, one cannot claim an entrapment based solely on the officer’s concealment of identity.
If the Person Encouraging the Act Isn’t an Officer
In some cases, police use outside agents to make an operation more convincing. Such people may be volunteers, or they can be suspects who need a way to mitigate their own criminal sentences. As long as the person is under law enforcement control, the entrapment defense may be raised.
The Likelihood of Success
To successfully use the entrapment defense, one must prove that they wouldn’t have committed a crime before the police officer’s coercion. The defendant or their attorney must raise the defense, and its provability depends on:
- The defendant’s criminal record
- Whether the crime was committed for financial gain
- The reluctance to act, as demonstrated by the defendant
Does a Suspect Need an Attorney?
If one believes they are an entrapment victim, they should call a criminal lawyer right away. A qualified defense attorney can help the client determine whether the entrapment defense can be used, and they can provide a solid defense at trial.