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What Is “Entrapment” and How Can it Influence a Texas Criminal Case?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Fort Worth criminal defense attorney entrapment

Entrapment occurs when a government official such as a police officer compels someone to commit a criminal offense. Some people falsely believe that police must always identify themselves as law enforcement officers. In reality, police are fully authorized to lie or use deceptive techniques to obtain evidence of a criminal act. However, police cannot use extreme behavior, threats, or coercion to force a normally law-abiding citizen to commit a criminal act.  Entrapment is an “affirmative” defense against criminal charges in Texas, which means that the defendant is admitting that he or she committed the offense but is also presenting a justification for doing so.

What Is the Difference Between a Sting Operation and Entrapment?

If you have ever seen television shows such as To Catch a Predator, you may have wondered about the legality of police undercover stings. A sting operation is a law enforcement action intended to catch an individual committing a criminal offense. It typically involves an undercover police officer or detective posing as a potential victim or criminal partner in order to gather evidence that can be used during a criminal prosecution. However, if a police sting operation crosses the line into entrapment, evidence obtained during the operation may not be admissible in court. Sting operations are often used to catch individuals engaging in the purchase or sale of illicit drugs, solicitation of a minor, solicitation of a prostitute, or the possession or distribution of child pornography. The main difference between entrapment and a lawful sting operation is that a sting operation offers an individual the opportunity to commit a crime while entrapment involves the individual being coerced or persuaded into committing a crime.  

Understanding Entrapment as a Defense Against Criminal Charges  

The Texas Penal Code describes entrapment as a situation in which a defendant engaged in criminal conduct because he or she was encouraged to do so by law enforcement officers who used persuasion or other means likely to cause a person to commit the offense. Inducement is the key factor in determining whether or not entrapment has occurred. Consider the following example: An undercover police officer attends a party where he asks an individual to sell him or her illegal narcotics. If the individual sells the officer the drugs, he or she will likely face arrest and possible conviction for drug distribution. However, if the police officer threatened the individual’s safety or implied that failing to deliver the drugs would result in physical violence, this would likely be considered entrapment.

Contact a Collin County Criminal Defense Attorney

Entrapment occurs when a person is encouraged or forced to commit a crime that he or she would not otherwise have committed. If you are facing criminal charges as a result of a sting operation or you think you may be the victim of entrapment, you need to speak with an experienced attorney immediately. Darlina Crowder is a skilled Dallas criminal defense lawyer who has secured hundreds of acquittals and not guilty verdicts throughout her accomplished career. To schedule a free, confidential consultation at the Crowder Law Firm, P.C., call our office today at 214-303-9600.

 

Sources:
https://www.justice.gov/archives/jm/criminal-resource-manual-645-entrapment-elements
https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/docs/PE/htm/PE.8.htm

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