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What Is Entrapment?

Entrapment is a defense used in a criminal case. Entrapment occurs when a person is persuaded by the police or agents of the police to commit a crime that he or she had no intent to commit. In that situation, the individual can use entrapment as a defense to the criminal charges.

Entrapment is a defense that greatly depends on the circumstances of each case. If a person is willing and ready to break the law, and the police officers merely provide an opportunity to commit a crime, it does not qualify as entrapment. For example, if a man decided to have his wife murdered and met with someone who he believed was a hit man who was actually an undercover police officer, and the man hired the police officer to kill his wife, that would not qualify as entrapment. The man was already willing and able to commit the crime, and the police officer did not have to persuade him to commit a crime – the police officer simply offered the opportunity.

However, in some cases the law enforcement officers actually induce a person to commit a crime that they had no intention of committing. For example, if a man was at a bar having a drink, and a beautiful undercover police officer in provocative clothing sat next to him, and persuaded the man to pay her for sex, the man would have a valid entrapment defense. He had no intention of committing a crime when he sat at the bar for a drink. It was only after enticement from the undercover police officer that he decided to commit a crime.

To prove entrapment as a defense, a defendant must show that the idea for committing the crime came from the police, not from the defendant. The defendant also must show that the police persuaded him into committing the crime. Finally, the defendant must show that he was not ready or willing to commit the crime until the police spoke with him.

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