What is the Difference Between a Sting Operation and Entrapment?
A sting operation is defined as a deceptive, carefully researched and well-executed operation designed to catch a person committing a crime. Usually a police officer or willing member of the public will play the role of a criminal or victim and give another criminal an opportunity to commit a crime.
Many times, the person playing the role is actually a criminal who is participating in a deal in order to have their charges dropped. These sting operations are extremely common in the United States but are actually considered illegal in other countries such as Sweden and the Netherlands. They are effective because they often circumvent the need to obtain the suspect’s confession. It is enough evidence for prosecution.
Sting operations are a hot topic for debate because they are ridden with ethical concerns. Many people argue that sting operations are just another form of entrapment. Entrapment is when a law enforcement agent induces a person to commit a crime that the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit.
Entrapment is illegal. For example, if someone had sold drugs and was subsequently charged, but it was the result of entrapment – he or she is not guilty. Entrapment is consequently used quite often as a criminal defense strategy, but only if the defendant feels pressured to commit the crime at hand.
Three criteria have to have been met in order for it to be called entrapment:
- The idea for the crime must have originated from the government agents and not from the accused person.
- Government agents persuaded the person into committing the crime, as opposed to just giving him or her the opportunity to do so.
- The person was not ready or willing to commit the crime before speaking to the government agents.
If entrapment is used as a criminal defense strategy, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was willing and able to commit the crime before the government agents were involved.
Sting Operations Defense
If you have ever been arrested for drug related crimes, grand theft, or other crimes caught by sting operations, it is important to consult a criminal defense lawyer before making any moves.
Stings are highly calculated operations and the only way to resolve your situation is with the help of a criminal defense lawyer.