What is Legally Considered Entrapment?

By Carlos Gamino

Entrapment is an interaction between police officers and someone who’s allegedly committed a crime that involves the police enticing someone to commit a crime. In some cases, defendants are able to successfully show the court that they wouldn’t have otherwise committed a crime if not for the police’s involvement – but that can be very complex. Here’s what to know if you’re looking at an entrapment defense.

What is Legally Considered Entrapment?

Entrapment happens when law enforcement professionals or other government agents induce another person to commit a crime. The key, though, is the word induce. That means government agents use things like threats, harassment, fraud or flattery to get another person to commit a crime.

Simply providing an opportunity to commit a crime isn’t enough to constitute entrapment.

What Are Some Examples of Entrapment?

Check out these examples of entrapment:

  • A police officer threatens to beat you unless you deliver drugs to someone, collect payment, and return the money back to her.
  • A police officer tries to convince a homeless man to pick up and deliver drugs, but the man refuses. The police officer meets with the person multiple times over the course of a week, promising a large payment and a weeklong stay in a local hotel. Finally, after a week of pressure, the man gives in and commits the crime.

Sting operations are not entrapment, though. That’s because they provide an opportunity to commit a crime – but they don’t induce anyone to commit the crime. Judges expect people to resist ordinary temptations to commit a crime, but in sting operations, the person committing the crime would likely have committed the crime under different circumstances, as well.

How Do You Prove Entrapment?

If you want to use an entrapment defense, it’s on you and your attorney to prove it. You have to show that:

  • Law enforcement agents approached you or gave you the idea of committing the crime (because you wouldn’t have committed it yourself)
  • You were not ready and willing to commit the crime
  • Law enforcement agents persuaded you or coerced you into committing the crime

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About a Possible Entrapment Defense in Your Case?

If you were a victim of entrapment, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation – we’ll answer your questions and start building a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.

Attorney Carlos Gamino