Entrapment is a potential defense to criminal accusations that people sometimes use when they feel that they have been manipulated into committing a crime by the police. They don’t think that they should be found guilty because they do not see the event as their fault – even if they don’t deny that it occurred.
But there is sometimes confusion over what entrapment entails and how this defense can be used. For instance, people sometimes consider it when they have been arrested by undercover police officers. They argue that the police officer tricked them by lying about who they were, and so that should count as entrapment. But does it?
Influencing someone to commit a crime
There’s actually a very big difference here that’s important to consider. For something to be entrapment, the police officers have to influence the person to commit a criminal act that they would not have committed otherwise.
On the other hand, an undercover police officer doesn’t cause anyone to do something. They are just waiting to see that offense occur so that they can make the arrest.
For example, if someone is attempting to sell illegal drugs and they accidentally sell them to an undercover police officer, that officer can make an arrest. It’s not entrapment. But if a police officer convinces someone who had no intention of breaking the law that they should go out and sell drugs, just so that the officer can then turn around and arrest them for selling drugs, it may be entrapment. Officers are not allowed to manipulate people into breaking the law just to give themselves a reason to make an arrest. They are only supposed to arrest those who would have broken the law anyway.
Do you feel that the police may have violated your rights when making an arrest? Be sure you understand all of your legal defense options.