Fans of true crime shows, podcasts, and movies may be familiar with the term ‘entrapment.’ Or, maybe you have been charged with a crime and believe a police officer framed you or convinced you to commit a crime. Entrapment is a defense to many criminal charges, but it is one that is largely misunderstood. Below, our Ouachita Parish criminal defense lawyer explains it in detail.
When Does Entrapment Occur?
Entrapment is a legitimate defense to criminal charges. Entrapment occurs when a police officer, or officer from another law enforcement agency, induces a law-abiding person to commit a criminal offense they would not have otherwise committed. Private citizens cannot commit entrapment, as the term only applies to government agents. Essentially, entrapment occurs if a person had no intention of committing a crime, but they were persuaded to by a law enforcement officer.
Opportunity is often confused with entrapment, but the two are not the same. Law-abiding citizens usually avoid committing a crime, even if a law enforcement officer presents them with the opportunity to do so. For entrapment to occur, law enforcement officers generally have to engage in police misconduct, such as threats, fraud, encouragement, harassment, or flattery.
When it is determined that entrapment occurred, it can result in certain evidence being suppressed. Any evidence used in a criminal case must be obtained by legal means, and entrapment is illegal. As such, when evidence is obtained through the use of entrapment, it is inadmissible in court and cannot be used against you.
Sting Operations are Not Entrapment
One of the biggest misconceptions about entrapment is that any officer working undercover is entrapping someone. This is not true. Sting operations, while very controversial, are also perfectly legal. Entrapment is not.
Sting operations occur when a police officer works undercover, or in plain clothes, and does not identify themselves as a law enforcement officer. In this capacity, the officer will create a deceptive operation to try and catch someone, or a group of people, committing a crime. Often, law enforcement agents will pretend to work with the suspect, or act as a victim while collecting information about the commission of a crime.
Sting operations are not considered entrapment because the officer is not encouraging someone to commit a crime they would not have otherwise. Police officers will wait for the suspect to start the scheme before engaging, so the offense would have occurred even without the officer’s presence. Additionally, contrary to what is so often seen in the media, a police officer generally has no legal duty to identify themselves as an officer or the law, or to state which agency they work for.
Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Ouachita Parish Today
If you have been accused of committing a crime, you need the help of an experienced Ouachita Parish criminal defense lawyer. At Whiddon Criminal Defense, our seasoned attorney can advise on the facts of your case and determine which strategy is the best to protect your freedom. Call us now at 318-594-3592 or reach out to us online to speak with our knowledgeable attorney.