Law enforcement authorities take drug crimes very seriously. In order to build a viable case, some agencies and officers may conduct sting operations or go undercover. This usually involves planning and executing an operation for law enforcement officials to witness the crime take place.
However, there are boundaries that police officers and other law enforcement personnel must not cross. The police cannot force or unreasonably convince someone to commit a drug crime. This is why entrapment laws exist. If you face drug charges, you may be able to consider claiming entrapment as a way to get a dismissal of the charges. Entrapment laws are necessary to ensure innocent people do not face criminal punishments.
The difference between opportunity and entrapment
The key element of entrapment is government agents using unacceptable behavior to coerce a person to commit a criminal act. Some behaviors that often count as entrapment include:
However, it is completely lawful for government agents to be deceptive in order to catch someone in a crime. For example, a police officer may act like a normal person and ask to buy drugs, only to arrest the person selling the drugs. But what is not permissible under the law is repugnant behavior that causes someone to commit a crime that he or she would not in a normal situation.
Providing evidence of entrapment can be complex, but it is possible to accomplish. Here are some important characteristics of an entrapment defense:
- The idea to sell or buy drugs originates with the government agent, not the defendant.
- The undercover agent uses persuasion or coercion to encourage the defendant to commit the drug crime.
- The defendant has no predisposition, inclination or intention to partake in this criminal activity.
If you want to argue entrapment to prove your innocence, you must collect enough evidence to convince jurors.