Is Entrapment a Possible Defense for Your Case?
Being charged with a crime can carry harsh penalties. Speaking to an attorney can help you develop the best possible defense for your situation. One possible defense is entrapment.
What is Entrapment?
Entrapment occurs when a person commits a crime that they would not have committed without the presence and influence of law enforcement. Entrapment must involve some degree of persuasion or coercion. If a person likely would have committed the crime regardless of the actions of law enforcement, entrapment will likely not work as a defense.
Entrapment is different than sting operations where a mere opportunity to commit a crime is presented, or a crime that was already committed was reported to police by a confidential informant. There must be some evidence to show that the individual was persuaded to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed.
Objective vs. Subjective Standard
There are two different standards for proving entrapment, depending on state law, where the crime was committed.
The objective standard for proving entrapment focuses on the actions of law enforcement and whether or not an average person would have been persuaded to commit the crime. The defense must prove that entrapment occurred by a preponderance of the evidence (or more likely than not), which is a lesser burden of proof than the reasonable doubt standard.
An example would be if police provided everything a person needed to commit a crime or threatened the defendant with harm to family members or the loss of a job if he or she did not commit the crime.
The subjective standard focuses on the defendant's mental state and whether or not the defendant had the propensity to commit the crime. Even if conduct by law enforcement was outrageous and extreme, if a jury finds that the state has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant must be found guilty.
For example, if police presented an opportunity for the defendant to commit a crime and the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant had any propensity or predisposition to do so, the defendant must be found not guilty.
Entrapment Is an Affirmative Defense
Entrapment is an affirmative defense to a crime, which means that a defendant may be found not guilty if entrapment occurred even if he or she would be otherwise guilty of the crime. The defendant must raise the defense and prove that entrapment occurred.
If you have been charged with a crime in Atlanta, Georgia, our attorneys Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum, can advise you about your best possible defense.
Contact our office today (404) 471-3177 for more information about entrapment and how our team can help protect your rights.