According to the online legal encyclopedia Nolo.com, “entrapment is a defense to criminal charges, and it’s based on an interaction between police officers and the defendant prior to (or during) the alleged crime. A typical entrapment scenario arises when law enforcement officers use coercion and other overbearing tactics to induce someone to commit a crime. Such as resorting to the use of threats, harassment, fraud, or even flattery to induce defendants to commit crimes”.
In other words, entrapment is the act of a police officer going out of their way to get someone to do something illegal. This doesn’t mean simply offering someone an opportunity to commit a crime – as you are expected to resist any ordinary temptation to violate the law – but this means instead that an officer went out of their way to “force” you into committing a crime.
Examples of Entrapment:
EXAMPLE 1: There are times when someone might think that a police officer forced them into doing something illegal, but upon a closer look, there may be no actual sign of force. Say, for example, that you sell your prescription medication to an undercover police officer one night. In court, you claim that it was “entrapment” because the drugs were for your own personal (and legal) use – in this case, we will say that the drug in question was a legally prescribed pain medication in the defendants name – but the police officer made up a lie as to why he needed those drugs from you. It could even be an extreme scenario, where the police officer claims that he has a loved one at home in extreme pain, and he convinces you that you are doing something to help someone in need. In this case, if you sell the drugs to the officer, there is no way entrapment can be used as an argument, as the police are allowed to lie in order to give you the opportunity to break the law, but the officer, in this case, did not engage in “extreme or overbearing behavior”.
EXAMPLE 2: However, let’s say that a police officer knows that you have the same said drugs for personal use as described above, and they come to your home on more than one occasion to ask you for them over the span of a few weeks, telling you the same lies over and over, but you continuously refuse. Until one day, the officer tells you that his mother only has a few days left to live and that these drugs could help her to feel some relief in her dying moments, so you finally break down and sell some of your prescription pain medication to him during that last and final attempt, then entrapment may be used as a defense in this scenario. Since you refused for so long, and you had no intention to sell them, but the police officer nearly forced you into selling them using repeated entreaties and lies, this type of behavior from the officer is said to be “sufficiently extreme enough to constitute entrapment and will result in a not guilty verdict”.
The same scenarios can be applied to prostitution, internet sex crimes, etc. If you feel as though you have been forced into committing a crime due to a police officer’s use of threats, harassment, fraud, or even flattery, contact an experienced attorney today. John W. Tumelty, the founding partner of the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty, brings more than 30 years of experience to both the negotiating table and the courtroom on behalf of his clients. He is passionate about protecting his clients’ reputations and livelihood by crafting creative defense strategies that keep his clients out of jail. If you have been charged with a crime in New Jersey, you need a lawyer who will fight tirelessly on your behalf. Call or email Mr. Tumelty today for a consultation about your case.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.