Entrapment is when a police officer uses coercion and other overbearing tactics to get someone to commit a crime. It can be used as a criminal defense to convince the court that had it not been for the law officer’s actions, the defendant would not have committed the crime.
Entrapment was established to prevent outrageous conduct of public officials and officers and can only be used as a defense specifically in cases where police officers and other public officials are involved. Entrapment cannot be claimed in cases where a private individual coerced the defendant to commit a crime.
Read on to know more about the laws of entrapment and how entrapment defenses are evaluated in Arizona. Or better yet, get in touch with one of our Phoenix, Arizona criminal defense attorneys at our law offices for more information and to know if you can claim entrapment for your defense.
Subjective and Objective Standards for Entrapment
When used as a defense, entrapment can be evaluated based on subjective and objective standards, depending on the state.
According to the subjective standard, an entrapment defense will evaluate the predisposition of the defendant more than the behavior of the law enforcement that pressured him. This means that the court will first look at the background of the person, and assess if he will have done the crime without pressure (if he is predisposed to the crime already).
This makes it much harder for entrapment defenses to succeed under the scrutiny of the subjective standard because even the slightest possibility of the defendant committing the crime based on his background makes his defense easily dismissable.
On the other hand, in the objective standard, the jury will assess if a normally law-abiding citizen will commit a crime if similarly pressured by law enforcement. This means that the defendant’s criminal record is inadmissible as evidence and irrelevant to the case.
The standards for entrapment can be confusing, but understanding the criminal court and due process is essential to fight against criminal charges. If you have been charged with a crime, talk to a criminal defense attorney to know more about the penal code, criminal procedure, and the legal system.
Entrapment in Arizona
The Arizona entrapment law is found in A.R.S. 13-206 and is an affirmative defense. This means that the defendant has to give up his innocent plea and admit to guilt first, and then seek acquittal from criminal liability. It is not enough for the defendant to not challenge the testimony, though, he must plead guilty, first.
Generally, the burden of proof in criminal cases lies with the criminal prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did commit the crimes he is being accused of. However, affirmative defenses are the inverse in that the defendants must be the ones to bring proof and show by a preponderance of the evidence that the government agent was indeed guilty of the entrapment allegations.
This is proven by showing that the following three things happened:
- The idea of committing the crime was initiated by the law enforcement,
- The law enforcement provided the opportunity and influenced the accused to commit the crime,
- Before the officer’s coercion and inducement, the accused did not have any plans to commit the crime.
This means that an undercover police officer is allowed to lie and hide his identity and is not guilty of entrapment as long as he does not commit the three things listed above. This also means that a defendant cannot claim entrapment if he already had plans to commit the crime before interacting with the law enforcement officer.
If you are facing criminal charges and pending to be prosecuted, don’t wait to find legal representation and legal counsel in the form of a criminal defense lawyer or public defender. A competent criminal lawyer understands the relevant criminal laws and will fight for you to help you avoid jail time, for the expungement of your case, or to have your criminal offense convictions dismissed, which is the best possible outcome.
Entrapment or Opportunity?
In a criminal trial, it is also the jurors’ responsibility to distinguish between simple opportunities and entrapment. A government agent simply offering an opportunity to commit a crime does not entrap the person accused of a crime; entrapment arises when the agent resorts to actions, including flattery, persuasion, harassment, fraud, and deception, that even a reasonable person cannot resist.
If you feel that you were entrapped and as a result are being charged with a criminal case, don’t hesitate to contact one of our criminal defense attorneys at the Snader Law Group, a Phoenix, Arizona criminal defense law firm. Our criminal defense lawyers are knowledgeable of criminal law and the criminal justice system and will fight to prove your innocence.
Our criminal lawyers have spent countless hours in the federal court and district court and have successfully defended against all sorts of criminal offenses brought about by different prosecutions. Our criminal attorneys’ knowledge of the criminal process allows them to build the best defense against different criminal offenses including robbery, burglary, drug crimes, DUI, felonies, misdemeanors, sex crimes, domestic violence, aggravated assault, reckless driving, etc.