What is entrapment?

If you face criminal charges in Missouri, you may be able to use entrapment as a successful defense that will result in your acquittal. LawShelf.com explains that entrapment occurs when you commit a crime only because a law enforcement officer or someone acting on behalf of a law enforcement officer induces you into committing it.

Specifically, to qualify as inducement, only a government agent can offer you the opportunity to commit the crime. In addition, you cannot evidence any predisposition to commit the crime in the absence of such an offer. In other words, how you respond to the offer makes all the difference between whether or not you can successfully claim entrapment. For instance, if you accept the criminal opportunity the first time the government agent offers it to you, this tends to prove that you already had an inclination to commit this particular crime. If, on the other hand, you refuse the agent’s offer, after which (s)he repeats it several times before you finally accept it, this tends to prove that you had no inclination to commit the crime and only committed it after the agent induced you multiple times.

Victimless crimes

Usually, defendants plead inducement only with regard to victimless crimes. Buying illegal drugs from an undercover officer represents the classic inducement defense. Soliciting prostitution represents another example in which the inducement defense often comes up.

Burden of proof

If you and your attorney decide to use an inducement defense in your criminal trial, be aware that you have the burden of proof to establish who entrapped you and how (s)he went about doing it. Once you prove this, however, the burden of proof then shifts to the prosecution. The prosecutor must prove that you were predisposed to commit the alleged crime, and (s)he must prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. If (s)he cannot convince the jury that you had a predisposition to commit the crime with which officers charged you, the jury must acquit you.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.