The police are meant to be a force for good in our society. They are meant to uphold the law, and protect and serve our citizenry. Unfortunately, you cannot always assume that the police will act ethically and within the bounds of the law. They are human beings, subject to the same biases and potential for human error as everyone else. Thus, there are times where unfair and unreasonable action is taken by the police against law-abiding citizens.
One such situation is known as Entrapment.
Entrapment is when the police or some other government agent induces a law-abiding citizen to commit a crime that they otherwise would not have committed without the actions or direct influence of the agent. If the defense can prove that the arresting agency committed entrapment, then the defendant cannot be convicted of the crime based on that evidence.
Many people have heard of entrapment, but there are a lot of misconceptions about how this criminal defense works.
A common belief is that government or police undercover operations, such as a prostitution or a narcotics sting, are forms of entrapment. However, it is perfectly legal for law enforcement to utilize informants and deception to provide an opportunity for a crime to occur and uncover evidence that criminal activity is being committed.
Nonetheless, there is a fine line between the police legally and illegally setting someone up to commit a crime.
Courts will determine whether entrapment occurred based on one of two tests:
To be clear, the Texas Penal Code does place a clear limit on the entrapment defense, stating, “Conduct merely affording a person an opportunity to commit the offense does not constitute entrapment.” However, when the line is crossed between offering the opportunity to commit a crime and actually persuading someone to commit a crime, that is when entrapment occurs.
Entrapment can be a risky defense, since you are essentially admitting that you committed a crime and you are placing the blame for that crime on the government. It is vital that you consult with a knowledgeable defense attorney about whether an entrapment defense could work for your case. If you believe you have been the victim of police or government overreach and entrapment, contact the Medlin Law Firm to discuss the specifics of your case and the potential defense options available to you.