Accomplished Orange County Defense Firm
Available 24/7 to Answer Your Call 949-251-0330
Back to Top

How Is Entrapment Used as a Defense?

Entrapment: A Defense Against Government Overreach

The criminal justice system strives for a delicate balance: upholding the law while protecting individuals from undue government pressure. The entrapment defense serves as a crucial safeguard against law enforcement tactics that may incentivize or coerce individuals into committing crimes they wouldn't have otherwise considered. This article explores the concept of entrapment and its application as a defense strategy.

Understanding What Entrapment Entails

Entrapment occurs when a law enforcement officer or government agent convinces a person to commit a crime they were not predisposed to commit. The key distinction lies in the officer's role.

If they merely provide an opportunity for a predisposed individual to commit the crime, it's not entrapment. However, if the officer actively persuades, flatters, or threatens the individual into committing the crime, it may be considered entrapment.

The rationale behind the entrapment defense is to deter law enforcement from manufacturing crimes. The justice system seeks to punish genuine criminal intent, not create it through manipulative tactics. Furthermore, entrapment undermines public trust in law enforcement. When officers push individuals into criminal activity, the line between upholding the law and creating criminals blurs.

The Entrapment Defense in Action

Raising the entrapment defense requires demonstrating specific elements to the court. The burden of proof typically falls on the defendant, who must show the following:

  • Government inducement. The defendant must prove a government agent (officer, informant) induced them to commit the crime. Simple opportunity to commit the crime doesn't suffice.
  • Lack of predisposition. The defendant needs to demonstrate they were not predisposed to commit the crime before encountering the government agent. This can be established through past behavior, character witnesses, or lack of criminal history.
  • Outrageous conduct. The defendant must argue that the government agent's tactics were so outrageous that they would induce a normally law-abiding person to commit the crime. This is a subjective standard, and courts consider the specific circumstances of each case.

Example Scenario

Imagine Sarah, a college student struggling financially. She has never sold drugs but has her own legal prescriptions. An undercover officer, posing as a student, befriends Sarah and, over time, expresses interest in buying drugs.

The officer persistently flatters Sarah, highlighting her social status and offering a significant sum of money in exchange for small amounts of drugs. Sarah, initially hesitant, eventually agrees, swayed by the financial incentive and the officer's persistent flattery.

Sarah is subsequently arrested for drug possession with intent to sell. In court, she raises the entrapment defense. Her attorney can argue that the undercover officer's persistent requests and the promise of a large sum of money constituted outrageous conduct that induced Sarah, someone with no prior drug-related activity, to commit the crime.

Discuss Potential Defense Strategies with Our Team

A criminal charge can be a frightening experience, but it's important to remember that the defendant has legal rights and options. Beyond the defense of entrapment, there exist a wide range of strategies a skilled attorney can employ to build a strong case.

The best course of action will depend on the specifics of each case. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial to navigating the legal system effectively and developing a personalized strategy that maximizes the chance of a favorable outcome.

At Corrigan Welbourn Stokke, APLC, we are known for our clear communication and attentiveness to client needs. We can work tirelessly to understand the unique circumstances of your case and fight for favorable results.

Get started on your case today by calling (949) 251-0330.