The entrapment defense is an overused defense that will apply in a very small number of cases. It involves law enforcement enticing or coercing you into committing a criminal act when you were not predisposed to commit the offense in the first place. So, soliciting a prostitute who turns out to be an undercover police officer will usually not be entrapment, because if you approached the undercover officer, that is strong evidence that you were predisposed to commit the offense. However, sometimes law enforcement goes over the line and lures a citizen into committing an offense they otherwise would not have committed.
To establish the defense of entrapment, you must prove:
- You were, for the purpose of obtaining evidence of the commission of a crime, induced or encouraged to engage in conduct constituting the crime charged, and
- you engaged in such conduct as the direct result of such inducement or encouragement, and
- the person who induced or encouraged you was a law enforcement officer or a person engaged in cooperating with or acting as an agent of a law enforcement officer, and
- you were not a person who was ready to commit the crime.
What if the officer lied to me when I asked if he or she was a police officer?
Under Florida law, an officer can use lies, trickery and deceit to investigate an offense.
It is not entrapment merely because a law enforcement officer, in a good faith attempt to detect crime,
- provided you the opportunity, means, and facilities to commit the offense, which you intended to commit and would have committed otherwise, or
- used tricks, decoys, or subterfuge to expose your criminal acts, or
- was present and pretending to aid or assist in the commission of the offense.
What if I was minding my own business and the officer came to me to commit the offense?
It is not entrapment if you had a predisposition to commit the offense. In other words, if an undercover officer comes up to you to buy drugs and you sell the drugs to the officer, you can't use the entrapment defense just because the officer approached you.
You had the predisposition to commit the offense if before nay law enforcement officer or person acting for the officer persuaded, induced or lured you, you had a readiness or willingness to commit the offense if the opportunity presented itself.So, in the above scenario, because you had the readiness to sell to potential buyers who approached you, it would not be entrapment simply because it was an undercover officer who approached.
However, if you were a recovering drug user and the officer continually contacted you requesting that you be the middleman and obtain drugs for him and he'd give you a portion of the drugs, there may be an entrapment defense, depending on the evidence that you were not predisposed to commit the offense.
You have the burden to prove by the greater weight of the evidence that a law enforcement agent, or informant, encouraged or induced the crime .
Greater weight of the evidence means that evidence which is more persuasive and convincing.
If you meet this burden, the State must then prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were predisposed to commit the crime prior to and independent of the inducement or encouragement.
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