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What is Entrapment?

One of the most common defenses in California crimes is entrapment. It is a defense that is based on interaction between law enforcement officers and the defendant prior to (or during) the alleged crime. If you are able to successfully prove you were entrapped, the court must drop the criminal charges against you.

What is Entrapment?

According to California law, entrapment is a scenario where a “normally law abiding citizen” is coaxed, pressured, or otherwise manipulated into committing a criminal offense that he or she would not have committed otherwise. Entrapment only applies to intimidating conduct, such as harassment, threats, fraud, and pressure.

If an officer merely offered you an "opportunity" to commit a crime, you will not be able to use entrapment as a defense. The courts operate under the assumption that reasonable people resist any temptation to commit a crime when it was merely a simple opportunity that arose.

Proving the Police are Guilty of Entrapment

As with other cases, the prosecution must prove that you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt," meaning that the only logical explanation for what happened is that you committed the crime. If you use entrapment as your defense, you are responsible for bearing the burden of proving that the officer is guilty by a “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning that the officer “more likely than not” induced you to commit the crime.

Remember, proving that the officer assured you that you were not being "set up" will not count as "inducement," and will therefore not be an effective piece of evidence when you claim entrapment as a defense. Officers are allowed to use tactics like this to gain your trust. They cannot, however, lie to you and promise that the action in question is legal.

Common types of conduct that might persuade a normally law abiding citizen to succumb to committing a crime:

  • The police officer guaranteeing that the conduct is not illegal.
  • The police officer promising that the crime will go undetected.
  • The police officer offers extraordinary rewards.
  • The police officer appeals to sympathy.

To properly prove entrapment, it is up to your criminal defense attorney to show the jury the criminal act would not have been your initial choice and you would not have committed the crime if it had not been induced by an officer.

To learn more information, contact our Bakersfield criminal defense attorney at Campbell Whitten today.