Not everyone commits an offense willingly or even knowingly. Police officers have been known to entice and even coerce citizens into committing offenses–individuals who otherwise would not have committed an offense in the first place. If you fell victim to a law enforcement agent’s illegal tactics, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney at once.
What is Entrapment?
Entrapment is the process of coercing someone into a crime. A little unknown fact to most people, however, is that entrapment cannot be committed by a regular citizen who is not working with a law enforcement agency. Entrapment only applies to police officers, other law enforcement agents, and those working in conjunction with a law enforcement agency. If you were coerced or essentially strong armed into committing a crime by a police officer or other person, you may have a strong legal defense in your back pocket because entrapment is illegal.
We Must Show that Inducement Occurred
As per Jacobson v. United States, “Government agents may not originate a criminal design, implant in an innocent person’s mind the disposition to commit a criminal act, and then induce commission of the crime so that the Government may prosecute.” In order for entrapment to be used as a defense, you and your attorney must be able to show that inducement occurred, because simple artifice, stratagem, deceit, or pretense are all legally valid law enforcement tactics. But what is inducement? Inducement is at least mild coercion or persuasion. According to United States v. Evans, this includes an offense committed based on need, sympathy, friendship, or an extraordinary promise “that would blind the ordinary person to his legal duties.” Other terminology used to describe entrapment include government agent actions that would overbear a law-abiding citizen’s will to obey the law (United States v. Kelly) or if a government agent created “a substantial risk that an offense would be committed by a person other than one ready to commit it”(United States v. Johnson).
The Two Elements Needed to Prove Entrapment Occurred
There are two elements to entrapment for it to be used as a valid defense for a non-violent offense:
- The government induced the crime; and
- The defendant had a lack of predisposition to commit the offense, meaning that the defendant, prior to coercion by a government agent, did not have any desire or will to commit the offense.
Entrapment as a Defense Cannot Be Not Used in Victimless Crimes
According to the National Paralegal College, entrapment can usually only be used as a defense when the offense committed was a victimless crime, such as purchasing controlled substances or prostitution. If you are charged with rape, murder, manslaughter, or assault, entrapment will probably not work as a defense.
Call Scott Skier Today
The entrapment criminal defense attorneys of the Skier Law Firm are here to provide assistance in every way they can. We will ensure that you are not wrongfully punished for falling victim to law enforcement entrapment. Call our West Palm Beach offices today.