The Case for Entrapment Legal Defense

Entrapment typically arises when a law enforcement officer uses threats, fraud, coercion or other unwarranted influence in order to have a criminal defendant perpetrate a crime. Therefore, entrapment may be used as a legal defense by the lawyers of the criminal defendant. An entrapment legal defense is based on the fact that the criminal defendant lacked the requisite intention to perpetrate the offense and only perpetrated it due to the coercion or persuasion by the law enforcement officer that simply contributed to the occurrence of the crime. Read on to find out the elements of an entrapment defense and whether you can use it in your criminal case.

Determining whether entrapment took place

Courts employ either an objective or subjective yardstick to ascertain whether entrapment took place. The objective standard requires the jury to ascertain whether the actions of the law enforcement officer would have provoked a reasonable individual to perpetrate the crime. On the other hand, a subjective standard demands that the jury ascertains whether the accused person was inclined to perpetrate the offense and if this inclination encouraged the accused person more when compared to the deeds of the law enforcement officer.

Burden of proof

The burden of proof usually lies with the criminal defendant in raising a concrete defense. With the help of lawyers, the defendant must prove that the offense would not have been perpetrated devoid of the coercion from the law enforcement officer. Therefore, defendant's lawyers must establish using a predominance of the available evidence that the actions of the law enforcement officer rose to the standard of entrapment.

If the court applies an objective benchmark, then the defendant will be declared not guilty when entrapment is undoubtedly proven to have occurred. On the other hand, if the court applies a subjective benchmark, it is the prosecution who has the burden of proof to show that the conduct of the law enforcement officer did not persuade or provoke the accused person to perpetrate the offense and that the defendant would have perpetrated the offense despite the entrapment as the defendant was inclined to carry out the crime.

An example of entrapment case

An individual who only uses illegal drugs and substances for personal use may resort to an entrapment legal defense when an undercover agent continually pleads with the individual to provide him or her with the drugs to assist an ailing mother in spite of constant refusals from the person. Although law enforcement agents are usually permitted to hide the truth from criminal defendants, such undue lies may pave way for an entrapment legal defense in this scenario.