Those who are accused of breaking the law will sometimes say that they are actually victims of entrapment. They claim that it’s not their fault. They were manipulated or tricked and they shouldn’t be held guilty of criminal acts, even if it can be proven that they did commit those acts.
This is a valid defense in certain situations, but it’s also something that people often get confused by. Let’s break it down a bit and see if it could help you in your situation.
A complete defense
The government defines entrapment as a complete defense. In other words, if entrapment is shown, then the person cannot be convicted on those charges.
Entrapment essentially happens if law enforcement agents come up with a criminal plan, find an innocent person, convince that person to commit a crime and then make the arrest. In other words, the officers would be creating the crime specifically so that they could arrest the person, and none of that would have taken place without the officer’s involvement.
What’s the difference with undercover work?
People sometimes believe that being caught by an undercover police officer, who is pretending to be someone else, is entrapment. But this is not entrapment unless the police officer is the one who convinced the other person to break the law. If the officer was simply working undercover and witnessed it, that’s still different than entrapment because they didn’t create the situation in the first place. Lying about their identity is not entrapment.
If you are facing criminal charges, it’s very important to know about all of your defense options and how they may apply to your case.