Entrapment Defense

The entrapment defense is an affirmative defense that may defeat charges against a defendant. It can apply to many kinds of charges, including drug crimes and solicitation of a prostitute.

An entrapment defense exists when law enforcement lures a defendant into committing an offense to which the defendant otherwise would not have committed and had no intention to commit. But, it does not exist when law enforcement is merely providing a defendant with the opportunity to “voluntarily and deliberately” commit the crime if it’s reasonable to believe the defendant would have done it with any such opportunity. As I’m sure you can see – this leaves a lot of gray area for litigation that is critical to the defendant.

When pursuing the entrapment defense, there is a two-step process the Court will use when analyzing it. First, the defendant must carry the burden of proving by a fair preponderance of the evidence that the government induced the commission of the crime. Courts like to see persuasion, badgering, or pressure by law enforcement in order for this first-step to be satisfied. If this is done properly, then the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime. This gets back to the argument that the defendant just seized the opportunity that was presented and the fact that law enforcement gave said opportunity is of no consequence.

Because of this gray area, it is not uncommon for law enforcement to toe the line and, often, cross over the line with the expectation being that a court will uphold their conduct as merely providing an opportunity. For example, an undercover officer posing as a prostitute is allowed, according to our courts, to initiate a conversation and steer it towards solicitation by offering a quote for certain sexual acts. Courts have found in favor of the entrapment defense when a drug deal was only consummated after the defendant initially declined an offer, yet eventually succumbed when the undercover agent persisted, arranging multiple meetings and making multiple offers to sell the drugs.

The bottom line is that if you are facing a criminal charge that you believe is the result of impermissible influence by the police, you need to hire an experience Minnesota criminal defense attorney to help develop and pursue this entrapment defense on your behalf. Successfully doing so can lead to the proper result – a dismissal of the serious charges.