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Entrapment as a Defense

Posted by Ken Barrett | Jun 30, 2018 | 0 Comments

Entrapment is one of the most frequently misunderstood defenses to criminal charges. We break it down here in a general sense.

Required Precursors to an Entrapment Charge

In entrapment defense claims, the government must first show the defendant committed the crime. If the government can't prove this, there is no need for an entrapment defense. However, once the government proves the conduct that constitutes the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the defense of entrapment may be presented to the jury.

The Elements of Entrapment

An entrapment defense generally requires the defense to establish two primary elements:

  1. The defendant must establish government conduct induced him or her to commit the offense, and
  2. The defendant must establish he or she was not previously predisposed to commit the crime, but rather did so because of the government inducement.

Examples of Government Conduct Which Might Induce One to Commit a Crime

An undercover agent selling someone drugs would generally be considered “government conduct.” However, this alone is not sufficient to prove the first element of entrapment. For example, if an average person was asked to sell drugs, he or say may simply respond “no.” On the other hand, if the officer threatened the person with physical harm if he or she did not sell drugs, that may be considered inducement to commit the offense.

Examples of “Not Previously Predisposed to Commit the Crime”

However, to prove entrapment, the second element must also be met. The question of whether the government caught an “unwary criminal” versus an “unwary innocent” is often answered by evaluating the next element, whether the defendant was previously predisposed to commit the crime.

If we continue with our drug sale example, the government may seek to prove this element by introducing prior drug convictions. A person with no prior drug sales could be seen as not predisposed to sell drugs, where a person who has recently been convicted of drug sales may be predisposed to sell drugs. Generally speaking, the more recent and the greater number of drug convictions, the more likely the jury will find the defendant was predisposed to selling drugs.

Entrapment as a Defense

Entrapment can be used as a defense in many different types of cases. As you may have determined from the fact patterns provided, whether someone has a legitimate entrapment defense is fact specific. The jury decides whether the defense has provided sufficient facts to establish entrapment.

If You Have Been Charged with a Crime

Of course, no blog post discussion on entrapment can substitute for a careful review of the facts and circumstances of an individual case. If you think you have been the victim of entrapment, only a consultation with a criminal defense attorney will do. Contact The Law Offices of Kensley R. Barrett, Esq. With over seven years of criminal defense experience, representing hundred s of criminal defendants, Kensley R. Barrett has the experience you need to determine whether you have an entrapment defense – or some other defense to the charges against you. Call 401-380–6724 today for a free consultation.

About the Author

Ken Barrett

Attorney Kensley Barrett is a skilled criminal defense lawyer with a proven track record in handling a wide range of cases in Rhode Island. Known for his strong background in trial advocacy and negotiation, Barrett is dedicated to providing personalized and effective representation for his clients. Recognized as a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers and with a 10.0 "Superb" rating on Avvo, he consistently achieves successful outcomes, including acquittals, dismissals, and reduced charges.


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Kensley Barrett

Our law firm was founded on the belief that working with us is more than just hiring a lawyer. Working with us will bring you peace of mind and also allow you to continue with your regular life while we attend to your legal matters. Our vast experience means that it allows us to excel in both aggressively representing your interests and generating the best possible result for you.