What is Entrapment?
If you were arrested during a sting operation or by an undercover law enforcement officer, it is important that you get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure that your rights are protected. Undercover law enforcement operations sometimes cross the line that separates lawful and unlawful police behavior. Entrapment—using coercion, force, or encouragement to get an individual to commit a crime they would not have done on their own—is one of the most common types of police misbehavior.
What is Entrapment?
Under Florida statute 777.201, entrapment occurs when a law enforcement officer, person acting as a law enforcement officer, or person cooperating with law enforcement induces or encourages a defendant to commit a crime. The following elements must also be present in order for the successful legal defense of entrapment:
- The purpose of encouraging the defendant to commit the crime was to obtain evidence of the commission of the crime;
- The degree of inducement or encouragement committed by the law enforcement officer carries a substantial risk of the crime being committed by the defendant;
- The defendant was not going to carry out the crime without the inducement/encouragement.
The charges brought against the defendant shall be dropped if there is enough evidence to prove that the criminal conduct occurred as a result of entrapment.
The Most Necessary Element To An Entrapment Case—Lack of Predisposition to Commit the Crime
The main requirements of entrapment are the following:
- The law enforcement officer or person working with law enforcement used encouragement or inducement to cause the defendant to commit the crime; and
- The defendant was not predisposed to commit the crime on their own, even if the opportunity to commit the crime would have presented itself without the law enforcement officer coming around.
As such, the defense of entrapment does not work when the defendant was willing to commit the crime on their own. For example, take someone selling illegal narcotics on the street corner. If the defendant sold said drugs to an undercover police officer, it is unlikely that entrapment would work, given the predisposition that the defendant had towards selling drugs. However, if undercover law enforcement officers harassed an individual day after day to sell them drugs, or to commit another crime in order to stop the harassment, this would be entrapment.
Federal Law Against Entrapment
If you are facing federal drug crimes or another type of federal felony, entrapment is still a relevant legal defense against these acts. Under Jacobson v. United States 503 U.S. 540, 548 (1992), Government agents may not:
- Create a criminal plan;
- Implant the criminal plan into an innocent person’s mind; and then
- Induce the innocent person into committing the crime so that the Government may prosecute.
Call Our Port St. Lucie Entrapment Defense Lawyers Today
Entrapment is a difficult defense to use successfully, as it can be incredibly hard to prove that the defendant had no predisposition to commit the criminal act. As such, you need to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney for any chance of success. Reach out to the Port St. Lucie criminal lawyers at Baginski Brandt & Brandt today at 772-466-0707to schedule a free consultation.