When an individual commits a crime due to the urging of a government agent or entity, a case of entrapment might have occurred. The aim of entrapment is to gain control of the individual, either through imprisonment or to force cooperation in an unrelated criminal investigation.
Entrapment occurs when law enforcement or other governmental agents devise a scheme to encourage an otherwise innocent person to commit a crime. The entire purpose is to prosecute that person afterward for a crime that otherwise would not have occurred. It greatly risks the freedom, health, and even the life of the victim, depending on the type and severity of the criminal act.
Informants and Entrapment
The government agent does not have to be a police officer or other members of law enforcement. Many times, the person who encourages and enables the entrapment is an informant. An informant is a government agent by extension of their relationship with law enforcement and the benefits they obtain from by being an informant.
The informant has to use leverage to get the accused to commit the crime rather than simply suggesting the idea. A government agent must use some form of threat, fraud, harassment, or similar highly influencing behavior to get the accused to commit an act that they normally would not consider.
Entrapment as a Legal Defense
Entrapment is an absolute defense against any criminal charge and could fully exonerate the accused. When the accused is generally a law-abiding citizen with no predisposition to commit a particular criminal act, courts take that into account. When one or more government agents or members of law enforcement induce the individual to commit a crime that they normally would not consider, the elements of entrapment exist.
What are the Elements of an Effective Entrapment Defense?
While entrapment might seem obvious to the accused, a judge or jury might not agree. An effective entrapment defense requires careful preparation to have any chance at success. The two primary elements of a successful entrapment defense include inducement to commit the crime rather than just suggesting it and no predisposition to commit such crimes.
The defendant must demonstrate how the government agent induced them to commit the criminal act. The inducement must be overt, such as threats, harassment, or other exploitative conduct. The defendant also must not be predisposed to commit the crime.
If the defendant is known to deal illegal drugs and sells to an undercover police officer at the behest of an informant, an entrapment defense would not work. However, if the defendant perhaps obtained prescription drugs legally and a governmental agent induces the defendant to sell some pills to an undercover officer, an entrapment defense stands a better chance of succeeding.
For help with creating the best defense, it is advisable to speak to a lawyer who knows all aspects of criminal law. Proving entrapment might be difficult, so it is advantageous to speak to a strong criminal defense lawyer.
South Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers at Agre & St. John Help Entrapped Clients
If you are the target of entrapment, an experienced legal advocate is an invaluable asset. The South Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Agre & St. John can help you build the best possible defense. Contact us online or call us at 856-428-7797 to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.