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Entrapment as a Defense

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Entrapment is a common defense to criminal charges. However, presenting an opportunity to commit a crime is not the same as forcing someone to engage in criminal activity. To establish entrapment as a defense, a defendant needs evidence that shows the presence of coercion or overbearing tactics that lead to the crime being committed.

What Is Considered Entrapment?

Entrapment occurs when law enforcement agents persuade or coerce someone to commit a crime. For a person to establish entrapment as a defense, he or she will need to show that he or she had no intent to commit the crime originally. However, the defendant ends up committing a criminal act because of the overbearing tactics of law enforcement officers.

If you believe that you are the victim of entrapment, you could use it as a defense against criminal charges. As long as you can prove entrapment, the court will be unable to convict you of the alleged crime.

To prove entrapment, you will need to supply sufficient evidence to establish the following facts. 

  • The law enforcement agent approached the defendant or introduced the idea of committing the crime.
  • The defendant was not ready and willing to commit the crime.
  • The law enforcement agent did not simply provide an opportunity to commit a crime. The agent persuaded or coerced the defendant to commit the crime. 

What Are Some Examples of Entrapment?

Not all interactions with law enforcement qualify as entrapment. Law enforcement officers have the right to provide opportunities for someone to commit a crime, but they cannot manufacture or cause someone to commit a criminal act.

For example, say that you are at a party when an undercover law enforcement officer asks to buy drugs from you. You initially refuse, but the officer claims to be in pain and needs the drugs for relief. You make the transaction, and the officer arrests you. 

In this situation, you cannot claim entrapment as a defense even if you did not intend to sell the drugs. Government agents are allowed to lie and present opportunities for criminal activity. The officer did not use overbearing or coercive tactics to force you to commit the crime.

On the other hand, say that an undercover police officer asks to buy drugs from you. You decline and say that you do not have any drugs to sell and that you do not know where to buy them. The officer gives you the contact information for a local drug dealer and instructs you to purchase the drugs for him. You take the money and return with the drugs. When you return, the officer arrests you. 

In this situation, entrapment occurs because you did not intend to commit the crime or have access to drugs. The officer instructed you to commit the crime and arrested you as a result. You would not have committed the crime if not for the actions of law enforcement. 

Are You the Victim of Entrapment?

It can be difficult to know whether you are the victim of entrapment. If you are facing conviction and believe that a law enforcement officer’s actions caused you to commit the crime, it is important to speak with a Washington criminal defense lawyer.

A criminal defense attorney can investigate your case and help you understand if entrapment occurred in your case. Your lawyer can also represent your side of the story and defend you against serious penalties. Contact The Law Offices of Mark Treyz as soon as possible to identify your best possible outcome. 

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