What Does the Term ‘Entrapment’ Mean?
A common defense for various types of criminal offenses is entrapment by law enforcement officers. Entrapment refers to a specific type of interaction between the defendant and police officers either before or during the time of the alleged crime. Most entrapment cases involve police officers using some form of coercion to cause someone to commit a crime that they would not have otherwise committed.
However, it’s important to note that law enforcement officers are allowed to create opportunities for a person to commit a crime as part of their investigation. In these cases, the defendant still has a choice as to whether or not they will actually commit the crime for which there is a clear opportunity. Under the eyes of the law, people are expected to resist the urge to commit a crime even when there is a clear opportunity.
In a classic entrapment case, the defendant would need to be able to prove that it wasn’t a crime of opportunity, and that they were actually being forced to commit the crime they were charged with. Police officers or government agents may use tactics such as fraud, threats, harassment, blackmail and more.
The difference between opportunity and entrapment is a key element to criminal defense, and the burden of proof is on the defendant’s legal team to understand when there is evidence of entrapment. In Florida, defendants arguing that there was entrapment present in their case must be able to provide evidence that there was no predisposition on their part to commit the crime in question. If such evidence exists, then the burden of proof is on the prosecution to provide countering evidence.
For more information on how entrapment could have been a factor in your arrest, speak with a knowledgeable Orlando criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Salazar & Kelly.