The police do not have the right to unfairly entrap people who are otherwise innocent in the commission of crimes. This is a complicated legal issue that it is worth understanding more clearly.
What Is Entrapment?
Entrapment is a legal defense that is often misunderstood. Just because an officer was somehow involved in the fact that you committed a crime does not mean that entrapment was necessarily involved. For entrapment to be present, the officer or officers involved must have abused their authority in their attempts to induce you to commit an offense that you would not have committed under ordinary circumstances. The legal elements of entrapment include:
- You engaged in a specific criminal behavior.
- You were induced to do so by an officer.
- The officer used some form of persuasion in his or her inducement.
- The officer’s means of inducement was likely to cause you to commit the criminal behavior in question.
Simply providing you with the opportunity to commit a crime is not enough to be deemed entrapment. Instead, you must be able to demonstrate that the officer induced you to commit the crime via manipulation, tricks, coercion, or other strong-arm tactics.
The police are, of course, allowed to engage in sting operations to help them identify criminals. The defense of entrapment is intended only for those instances when the police abuse their powers and engage in manipulation to induce the innocent into committing crimes. Whether the police engaged in such manipulation or persuasion will be determined by the jury, and the determination can be based on a variety of indicators, including:
- They offered a financial incentive for the crime’s commission.
- They engaged in extortion.
- They engaged in activities that left the accused involuntarily intoxicated.
- They used threats of force or violence.
- They were psychologically manipulative.
- They engaged in relentless demands for the crime to be committed.
Anyone of these could push an otherwise innocent person to commit a crime.
A critical component of an entrapment defense is demonstrating that you are an innocent person who was coerced by the inducement/persuasion of the police. As such, it is important to show that, without that push by the police, you would not have engaged in criminal behavior. The following can all go a long way in this effort:
- Not having a criminal record to begin with
- Having no history of committing similar or related crimes
- Having character witnesses who attest to your upright standing in society
Again, the defense of entrapment is complicated, and it is in you and your case’s best interest to work closely with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
If You Are Facing Criminal Charges, You Need an Experienced Attorney
Facing criminal charges is never easy, but Brett Pritchard is a formidable criminal defense attorney with the resources and commitment to build your strongest defense. Our dedicated legal team at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard, proudly serving Killeen, Texas, is well prepared to help protect your rights throughout the legal process. Please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 with your questions today.