The role of a criminal defense lawyer is to represent a person who is accused of committing a crime. That involves things like making sure the defendant’s rights weren’t violated and the defendant receives every opportunity to not only be defended but also participate in his or her own defense strategy. On some occasions, the defendant may believe that he or she was trapped or enticed into committing the crime and is being prosecuted unfairly. In these cases, the defense attorney will use a defense known as criminal entrapment.
What is Criminal Entrapment?
If a person accused of a crime suspects that he or she might have been the victim of criminal entrapment, he or she should contact the best criminal defense attorney in Springfield MO, or in the city and state where the defendant resides. Criminal entrapment means that the police or someone under the direction of the police enticed the defendant to commit a crime he or she would not normally have committed. In other words, the police forced or otherwise convinced the person to commit the crime.
Criminal entrapment can only be committed by a certified police officer or by an agent working for the police and under the direct guidance of a police officer. It cannot be committed by anyone else.
An example of entrapment would be if while the defendant is in jail, the police plant an informant who, working under the direction of police officers, gets the defendant to confess to any crime. The confession would not admissible in court because it was coerced by the police. In other words, it was entrapment on the part of the police.
Criminal Entrapment vs. Opportunity
There is a difference under the law between entrapment and opportunity. For the police to give the person the opportunity to commit a crime is not the same as entrapment. For example, if an undercover officer asks to buy drugs or illegal substances from a suspect and the suspect agrees to the sale and takes the money, that is not entrapment. The suspect had the opportunity to commit the crime and took it. He or she was not forced to commit the crime.
Another example of this is when a phone conversation is recorded without the suspect’s knowledge or consent. This is not entrapment if the state where the recording occurred is what is known as a “one-party consent recording” state. That means that only one person has to consent to have the conversation recorded and, even if that person is a police officer, the recording is legal to make and use in court without any consent from the suspect or an attorney. This is another instance of opportunity and not entrapment.
Does Entrapment Qualify as a Defense?
The defendant’s attorney should thoroughly review the facts of the case to determine if entrapment could be a defense. In such cases, the court will weigh the actions of the officers against the defendant’s possible predisposition to commit the crime to determine if the defendant was coerced. It is also the burden of the defense to prove that the actions of the police did indeed force the defendant to commit the crime and that the defendant would not have committed it otherwise.