The Defenses of Duress and Entrapment

court room

If you are charged with a crime in Texas, bringing your strongest defense is naturally paramount. While the charge you face will be unique to the situation at hand, better understanding common defense strategies can go a long way toward helping you formulate your own defense (with the professional legal counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner). Two specific defenses to consider include duress and entrapment. Let’s take a closer look.

The Defense of Duress

The defense of duress is an affirmative defense, which means the defendant admits to having committed the offense, but in this situation, he or she maintains that he or she was compelled to do so under threat of force or under actual force. In this context, compulsion can only be established if the force in question would render reasonable people similarly incapable of resisting. Further, if the defendant knowingly and/or intentionally placed himself or herself in the dangerous situation, the defense of duress is not an option. For the defense to hold, the threat must include the following two elements:

  • It must have been imminent.

  • It must have been a threat to cause either death or serious bodily injury to either the defendant or to another person (whom the defendant was protecting) (Read more: Threatening Someone Can Be Illegal in Texas)

The defense of duress amounts to saying that someone else made me do it.

The Defense of Entrapment

The defense of entrapment is interesting because it involves the conduct of a law enforcement agent. The defense of entrapment means that the defendant engaged in the actions in question because he or she was induced to do so by an officer of the law who used persuasive measures or another means to invoke him or her to commit the offense. If the officer’s actions afford only an opportunity, it does not rise to the level of entrapment. Law enforcement agent in this context includes any personnel of state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies – or anyone who acts according to their instructions.

Proving Entrapment

In order to prevail with a defense of entrapment, the defendant must be able to demonstrate that the agent of the government overreached in his or her endeavors to tempt the defendant into committing a crime, and both of the following must apply:

  • An agent of law enforcement induced the defendant to commit the offense that led to the charge.

  • The means used to induce the defendant would likely cause other people (who are not the defendant) to commit the offense in question.

The burden of proof for the defense of entrapment lies with the defendant. Once the defense has been raised, however, the prosecution is then on the hook for disproving – beyond a reasonable doubt – that entrapment occurred. In other words, it is complicated, and you need a dedicated criminal defense attorney on your side. (Read more on finding the right criminal defense attorney for you)

An Experienced Killen Criminal Attorney Can Help

Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a well-respected criminal attorney who has a wealth of experience successfully defending clients like you. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today. (What Your Criminal Defense Attorney Can Do for You)


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