What is the Entrapment Defense and When Can You Use It in Texas?

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The Texas Penal Code recognizes entrapment as one of the affirmative defenses you can raise in order to avoid a conviction of certain criminal offenses.

Entrapment is a valid defense strategy when your Florence criminal defense attorney can prove that you were manipulated and induced by police officers to commit a crime that you would not have committed under ordinary circumstances.

What Are Affirmative Defenses?

Now that you know that entrapment is one of the affirmative defenses, you need to understand what an affirmative defense is.

Many defendants and their lawyers choose the defense strategy in which they argue that:

  1. The defendant did not commit the crime they are being accused of; or

  2. The prosecution does not have a sufficient amount of evidence to prove the defendant’s guilt.

Affirmative defenses are entirely different. When you raise an affirmative defense, such as entrapment, you are technically admitting your guilt. However, with the entrapment defense, you also argue that you would not have committed the crime if not for the manipulation and inducement of police officers.

In the hands of a skilled and experienced criminal attorney, the entrapment defense can be a powerful tool to help you avoid a conviction. Since there is a legal justification for your unlawful behavior, your attorney can convince the judge to reduce or dismiss the charges.

When Can You Use the Entrapment Defense in Texas?

As mentioned earlier, entrapment is an affirmative defense in Texas. The defense can excuse you from criminal liability if you can prove that the police conduct induced you to commit the crime you are being accused of.

Under Texas Penal Code § 8.06, the defendant can be considered entrapped when they were induced to engage in unlawful conduct by a law enforcement officer.

To successfully argue that you were entrapped, you need to prove that the police officer used persuasion, manipulation, or other means to induce you to commit the crime.

Examples of entrapment include but are not limited to:

  • Involuntary intoxication

  • Using financial incentives

  • Using threats of violence

  • Extortion

  • Using emotional manipulation

  • Making repeated requests to commit a crime

What Do You Need to Prove to Raise the Entrapment Defense?

It is advisable to contact a criminal defense attorney to help you prove that:

  1. you were a victim of entrapment;

  2. the police conduct would have induced any reasonable and law-abiding citizen to commit the offense under similar circumstances; and

  3. you would not have committed the crime without being lured or coerced by the police.

When it comes to proving the entrapment defense, your attorney will focus on the police conduct. The most difficult element to prove is that the police inducement or manipulation would have caused any law-abiding citizen to commit the crime under similar circumstances.

If your lawyer cannot successfully argue that you would not have committed the crime without undue influence, the entrapment defense may not be effective in your particular case.

Not All Police Inducement is Entrapment

Not all police inducement and manipulation qualify as entrapment in Texas. Whether or not the actions of the law enforcement officers qualify as entrapment depends on the facts of your particular case.

That is why it is highly advised to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to review your unique situation and determine if you can successfully raise the entrapment defense.

In some cases, police officers may lawfully provoke people into breaking the law. Merely suggesting to do something illegal may not be considered entrapment.

The main purpose of the entrapment defense is to disprove the prosecution’s claim that the defendant had the intent to commit the crime. When the entrapment defense is asserted successfully, the defendant may be acquitted.

Who Has the Burden of Proof When Raising the Entrapment Defense?

When the defendant wants to raise the entrapment defense, they have a right to do so. When asserting the defense, the defendant has the burden of supporting their claim of entrapment with clear and convincing evidence.

When raising the entrapment defense in Texas, defendants must provide the following types of evidence:

  1. They actually committed the offense.

  2. They were induced or coerced by the police to commit the crime.

  3. The police actually used persuasion, manipulation, coercion, or other means to cause the defendant to commit the offense; and

  4. A reasonable and law-abiding person would have been induced to commit the offense under similar circumstances.

Once the defendant asserts the entrapment defense, the burden of proof shifts to the prosecution to disprove that the law enforcement officers induced the defendant into committing the crime. The prosecutor must be able to demonstrate compelling evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not entrapped.

It may be more difficult to prove the entrapment defense if you have been convicted or charged with similar offenses in the past. If the police can prove that you were predisposed to commit the crime, they may be able to successfully argue that you did not need an inducement to break the law.

When Can You Assert the Entrapment Defense?

You may successfully assert the entrapment defense when law enforcement officers go too far in their inducement to cause a defendant to commit a criminal offense.

In most cases, the success of the entrapment defense hinges on the defense lawyer’s ability to prove that the police inducement would have caused an ordinary and law-abiding person to commit the same offense under similar circumstances.

The entrapment defense may be used when you are facing the following charges:

  1. Solicitation

  2. Prostitution

  3. Drug possession (Read more about drug possession and charges: Cocaine Charges: Penalties and Defenses)

  4. And others

Speak with a Florence Criminal Defense Attorney

Assessing whether or not you were entrapped requires a thorough and in-depth evaluation of the facts of your case.

If you believe that you were entrapped, schedule a free consultation with our defense lawyers at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard to determine if you can use the entrapment defense to avoid a conviction. Schedule a case review by contacting us online or by calling 254-501-4040.]

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