What is entrapment?

You might have heard about the term “entrapment” without fully understanding what it means. You and other Missouri residents who are facing criminal charges may benefit from knowing that in some cases, the behavior of law enforcement officers might have prompted an unlawful arrest.

Imagine you were minding your own business at a bar, when the person next to you struck up a seemingly innocent conversation, only to soon mention that his father had cancer and his prescription painkillers did nothing for his agonizing pain. Your new “friend” asks if you have any illicit drugs that can relieve his suffering. At first, you say no, but the man continues to badger you for drugs, first offering a large amount of money and then making subtle threats when you continue to refuse. When you finally give in to his demands, the man pulls out a badge, revealing himself to be an undercover officer, and arrests you on drug charges.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, law enforcement officers can go undercover and may even be seemingly involved in criminal activity to catch people in the act of a crime. However, they are not permitted to use excessive persuasion, force or threats to coerce someone into committing criminal activity. If this happens to you, you may have been unlawfully entrapped into committing a crime.

You may be able to successfully get out of charges if it can be proved that entrapment was involved in your arrest. However, as with any criminal charge, sound legal counsel is necessary, so this information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.