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What is entrapment?

| Mar 28, 2017 | Criminal Defense

It is not uncommon for some law enforcement officers to overstep their bounds and become overzealous when making arrests in East Grand Forks. Some people who are wrongfully enticed into committing crimes by law enforcement, informants and other affiliated parties may be able to claim entrapment. However, anyone who plans to use entrapment as their defense has the burden of proof.

Proving entrapment

Defendants must show that inducement was present in their situations from law enforcement. An officer simply asking an offender to do something is not sufficient enough to support an entrapment claim. Defendants must establish that they were persuaded or coerced into acting in a manner they normally would not. Even when inducement is present, defendants must also show that they were not predisposed to commit the crime. This is often very challenging to prove if the defendant has an established criminal history involving similar acts.

An example of entrapment

Defendants should keep in mind that if they were willing and had intentions of breaking the law, their circumstances may not qualify for using entrapment as their defense. In other cases, it can be a reasonable defense.

For example, a man goes to a bar, becomes intoxicated and sits at a table to wait until he is sober enough to drive. A fight breaks out in the establishment, law enforcement arrives and makes everyone leave the building. The man goes outside to wait for a ride. Law enforcement tells him to leave the premises, even though the man tells them he is unable to drive because he is drunk. A police officer threatens to arrest the man if he does not get in his vehicle to drive away. The man does so, only to get pulled over a few moments later by the same officer. After taking a field sobriety test, the officer arrests him and charges him with a DUI.

This situation satisfies the requirements for an entrapment claim. The defendant had no intention of driving while intoxicated. The idea of driving while intoxicated was not on his mind before the officer showed up and the officer coerced him to do so against his wishes. The offender also did not have a prior criminal record of driving while under the influence.

People who have prior criminal records should remain cautious about using entrapment as their defense. If they have recent histories involving similar crimes to what they are facing now, then entrapment may not be a good option. Those who are facing criminal charges for a crime they feel coercion was a factor should speak to an attorney about their situation so they can learn more about their options.

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