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What is the role of entrapment defense in federal drug cases?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Federal Drug Charge

In federal law, one defense strategy that stands out as intriguing and potentially controversial is the entrapment defense. The basis for this legal tactic is that the government should not be able to punish individuals for crimes they would not have committed without the government’s own inducement.

But what exactly constitutes entrapment? Further, how could an entrapment defense potentially impact your case if you are facing a federal drug charge?

Understanding entrapment defense

An entrapment happens when a government agent induces a person to engage in a criminal act they would not have likely committed. The key elements of entrapment are:

  • Government inducement: This refers to the actions of government agents that encourage or persuade a person to commit a crime. This can include offers of money, threats or excessive persuasion. The test for entrapment is whether the government’s conduct would have induced a normally law-abiding person to commit the crime.
  • Lack of predisposition: This refers to a defendant’s readiness to commit a crime. If they were ready and willing to commit the crime before the government’s involvement, the entrapment defense may not succeed. The defendant must prove they lacked a predisposition to commit the crime, meaning they were not already planning or intending to commit it.

Moreover, the burden of proof for the entrapment defense is on the defendant. If the defendant can show evidence of entrapment, then the burden shifts to the government to prove to the court, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the defendant was already likely to commit the criminal act.

Limitations of entrapment defense

However, the entrapment defense has limitations. For example, a defendant cannot use it if they were ready and willing to commit the crime before the government’s involvement. Additionally, the defense does not apply if the government merely provided the opportunity for the defendant to commit the crime.

Exploring your options and protecting your rights

Understanding the role of entrapment is crucial for anyone who may find themselves facing a federal drug charge. Since navigating the complexities of federal law can be challenging, seeking legal advice may help you explore your options as you seek to protect your rights throughout the process.