What is entrapment?

Understandably, police encounters can be a frightening experience. Despite the primary function of police officers serving as righteous peacekeepers, they often resort to deceitful tactics during criminal investigations. Although most police officers uphold their duties, their deceptive practices may cross the line and violate an individual’s constitutional rights. Police officers don’t always have to tell the truth, which can make it easy for individuals to fall victim to entrapment. If you can prove that police entrapment occurred by establishing you would not have committed the criminal act without inducement, you may be able to get your charges dropped entirely. As such, it’s in your best interest to enlist the help of an adept Bergen County Criminal Defense Attorney who can fight on your behalf to protect your rights. 

What constitutes entrapment in a criminal case?

Entrapment is a valid legal defense that criminal defendants may be able to establish if law enforcement officials induced or coerced them to commit a crime that they may not have committed otherwise. It’s crucial to note that only law enforcement officials or government agents can commit entrapment, not private citizens. Simply put, entrapment is merely lying and can, unfortunately, be accomplished in many ways.

Opportunity is a crucial element of entrapment. For instance, a judge would expect an average person to resist an ordinary temptation to break the law. Therefore, providing opportunities to commit a crime does not constitute entrapment. The officer must engage in coercive behavior that compels the crime, such as lying, threatening, blackmailing, harassing, intimidating, or similar actions. The officer’s behavior, not the opportunity, determines whether entrapment has occurred.

How is it proved?

If you believe that you’re the victim of police entrapment, you should retain the legal services of an experienced attorney who can help you prove that the entrapment occurred. Under state law, the judge and jury will use either an objective or subjective standard to determine whether entrapment occurred:

  • Objective standard: After the evidence has been presented, jurors must decide whether a police officer’s actions would have induced any person who is typically law-abiding. Ultimately, the determining factor is whether police conduct would have caused a reasonable person in the same circumstances to commit the crime.
  • Subjective standard: After hearing the evidence, jurors decide whether the criminal defendant’s predisposition to engage in criminal conduct makes them responsible for their actions, regardless of whether an officer induced the criminal conduct.

If you’re facing criminal charges because of the illegal behavior of a police officer, then you may have grounds to assert the entrapment defense to have your charges dropped entirely.

For more information about entrapment, please don’t hesitate to contact a determined Bergen County criminal defense attorney. At The Law Office of Carl Spector, we are prepared to help you prove entrapment occurred.