What is Entrapment?
Many times, a legal defense for the prosecution of a crime includes the definition of entrapment. However, entrapment can be a very difficult defense to use as law enforcement officers are continuously growing more cautious and prepared when planning to catch criminal activity. The only way to be able to use entrapment as a criminal defense is if you have a complete understanding of what it entails and what it means for you.
Entrapment in Federal Court
The legal definition of entrapment is when a person is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit; and the law as a matter of policy forbids conviction in such a case.
If a person is willing and able to commit a crime, that person may not use entrapment as a defense. For example, a government agent pretends to be someone else and to offer to engage in an unlawful drug transaction with the person (whether directly or through use of an informant or decoy), that person is willing and able to commit the drug crime. If the government agent induced the possibility of committing a crime without the prior willingness or ability of the defendant, entrapment may be used as a viable criminal defense.
A person can actually be considered not guilty if there is a reasonable doubt whether the person had any intent to commit the crime before the government agent became involved. If the government officer or agent persuaded the person to commit the crime, he or she is not guilty.
Entrapment must include the three following tenants in order to have a not guilty verdict:
- The idea for committing the crime must have come from the government agents and not originally from the person accused of the crime.
- The government agents must have then persuaded the person into committing the crime (versus just giving him or her the idea to do so).
- The person was not ready and willing to commit the crime before the government agent became involved.
In order for the defendant to be guilty when the issue of entrapment is a possibility, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not entrapped by government agents.
Florida Criminal Defense
If you have ever been accused of committing a crime and believe you were entrapped by government agents, you must contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. A criminal defense lawyer can help you start building a defense strategy that would prevent you from being found guilty, and turn the issue onto the government agents who provoked your situation to occur in the first place.