AggressiveCriminal Defense For Texans

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What is entrapment?

On Behalf of | Sep 4, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Many people have heard that the police cannot use entrapment as a way to make arrests. If they do so, it is a violation of that person’s rights and the case should be dropped. There are those who end up facing serious legal charges and who will use entrapment as a defense, claiming they wouldn’t have done anything wrong if not for the intervention of the police.

But there’s also some confusion about this. For example, people will assume that an undercover police officer is engaging in entrapment by lying about their identity. They are tricking the person and arrest them when they try to carry out a crime around the undercover officer. Is that entrapment?

Whose idea was the criminal act?

Undercover police work could lead to entrapment, but they are certainly not the same and it’s not a guarantee that this is what’s happening. The government says that entrapment is when a police officer, in order to make an arrest, decides to “implant in an innocent person’s mind the disposition to commit a criminal act.”

In other words, if the police officer has the idea for the criminal act and influences the other person to carry out that act, that is entrapment. They are causing that person to commit a crime just so that they – the officer – can make the arrest. But if the officer is undercover and witnesses a crime that that individual thought of on their own, then it is not entrapment. The officer does not have to reveal their identity in advance. 

These types of differences can be very important when facing serious criminal charges. Those who are charged with an offense need to know exactly what legal steps to take to protect their rights.