Entrapment Law 101: When Can I Claim Police Entrapment for My Drug Arrest?
Have you or someone you love recently faced a drug arrest? You may be wondering what your best defense options are.
If you believe you got coerced into committing an illegal act, we’ll help you explore the central themes of an entrapment defense. Read on to learn more about entrapment law and how to fight back.
What is Entrapment Law?
Entrapment law seeks to prevent police officers from using coercive tactics when enforcing this law. Law enforcement officers hold a lot of power. When that power is used to unlawfully coerce a suspect into committing an illegal act, entrapment occurs.
This doesn’t include merely creating the opportunity for a crime to occur. Entrapment means willfully forcing a person who otherwise would not commit crime into doing so.
Entrapment laws have been put in place for the purpose of protecting otherwise innocent people from criminal convictions as a result of predatory police tactics.
What Does Police Entrapment Look Like?
If an undercover police officer believes that you are engaging in illegal behavior, they run the risk of allowing their suspicions to overrule their judgment. In some cases, this may result in coercive tactics that are not legal.
Unethical police tactics can take many forms. The examples included below can help better explain what this looks like when it occurs. If you believe there are parallels present in your case, you should speak to a lawyer immediately.
Joe has a small stockpile of pills in his medicine cabinet at home. Upon attending a Baton Rouge party he meets Christa. Christa is an undercover cop and believes that Joe is a drug dealer. She tells him that she is very ill but can’t afford the pain medication that she needs.
Christa then asks Joe to sell her narcotics to help her manage her pain. Joe declines and the conversation carries on. Believing that Christa may be interested in going on a date, Joe later asks if they can exchange numbers. Christa gladly gives him her number and asks for his number in return.
Christa then begins inundating Joe with calls and text messages requesting that he sell her drugs. Uninterested in selling his personal medicine, Joe still declines. He is, however, still interested in pursuing a relationship.
Upon learning that Joe is in an on-again-off-again relationship with a long-time girlfriend, Christa threatens to tell Joe’s girlfriend and share explicit text messages with her unless he sells her drugs.
Under duress, Joe decides to sell her the medication she claims that she needs. Upon doing so, Christa promptly arrests Joe for selling narcotics.
Risks of an Entrapment Defense
First and foremost, using an entrapment defense means admitting to being the person who committed the illegal act. While this defense seeks to convince a jury that you were not responsible for your actions, you must convince the jury that the officer was in the wrong.
For an entrapment defense to work, the party responsible for coercing your actions must be a government official. If you were coerced by someone other than a law enforcement official in the events leading up to your arrest, it’s unlikely that the entrapment defense will be an option.
Your case will need to pass both a subjective and objective litmus test. These legal standards will help you determine if an entrapment defense is the right move for you.
Subjective standards imply that any reasonable law-abiding person would have been likely to break the law. Objective standards mean that you were not more likely to break the law than the average person.
If you were subject to improper police tactics, your case may be strong subjectively. If you have a long history of drug offenses, however, it may appear that you were more likely to commit a crime than the average citizen.
If other factors, such as known gang affiliation are present, this may also influence the outcome of your case. Prosecutors will use all of the resources available to them to sway the jury. If the prosecutor succeeds in convincing the jury that you aren’t credible, you are left with an admission of guilt.
If you believe that the officer responsible for your arrest did act improperly, however, entrapment may be your strongest defense. Speaking to a lawyer that you can trust can help you determine if a police entrapment defense is the best choice for you.
Are You a Cop?
Contrary to the popularly held belief, a cop doesn’t have to disclose whether or not they are law enforcement when asked. Just because a suspect asks, doesn’t mean that they are entitled to a truthful answer from the undercover officer.
Cops are allowed to lie when working undercover. These actions do not constitute entrapment or coercive behavior in and of themselves. Simply misleading the suspect itself is part of the process.
Officers that deviate from acceptable behavior when working undercover, however, may result in a not guilty verdict for the person charged.
Have You Been Arrested as the Result of Police Entrapment?
If you believe that coercive actions are to blame for your arrest, it’s time to call a lawyer. Public defenders can’t take the place of an experienced criminal defense team. This is especially the case when dealing with high stakes drug cases.
If you believe that predatory police tactics are to blame for your arrest, you’ll need a lawyer you can trust. Together we can help ensure that entrapment law protections work to exonerate you. Make the call today.