When Does an Entrapment Defense Apply?

Entrapment is a term used frequently in movies and crime novels, but what does it really mean and how can it be used as a defense to a crime?  Entrapment is a real defense that can be raised in criminal cases where the suspect alleges he was persuaded by law enforcement officers to commit the crime with which he is charged. However, in order for an entrapment defense to be successful, the suspect must be able to prove that he did not have any previous intention or predisposition to commit that particular crime.  In other words, you must be able to show that you only committed the crime because of the encouragement of law enforcement or some other government officer.  This can be a hard defense to prove.  Here is what you need to know.

Determining predisposition to commit a crime

Determining whether a criminal defendant had a predisposition to commit a crime can be very tricky. Some of the common factors that are considered including the defendant’s character and reputation, whether the officer was responsible for initially introducing the defendant to the criminal activity, whether the alleged crime was committed for profit, whether the defendant was reluctant to commit the crime or be involved in some way, and the exact nature of the officer’s inducement.

Proving entrapment can be tough

It can be difficult to prove an innocent mind before the officer’s alleged introduction of the idea to commit a crime.  The defendant must be able to show that he was not already willing and able to commit the crime on his own.  Establishing the officer’s inducement is not always easy, either.  The fact that an officer solicits a defendant to do something illegal is not enough.  For example, just because an undercover officer asks if you can supply him with some cocaine, does not alone constitute entrapment.  There needs to be evidence of aggressive pressuring or coercion to commit a crime, or negotiating or blackmailing a defendant into committing a crime.

If you have questions regarding the entrapment defenses, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law for a consultation by calling us at (205) 296-4233.

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