- January 19, 2024
- Criminal Defense Blog | Taracks & Associates
It happens every day in Florida: People break the law and get arrested; it’s simply a fact of life. And to be honest, sometimes good people make bad choices. At other times, though, innocent people are tricked into breaking the law. Not only is this immoral, but it’s also illegal. It is called entrapment.
In criminal cases, entrapment can be used as a defense strategy.
After all, if the person had not been coerced, they may never have committed the crime of which they are accused.
That said, entrapment as a defense can be incredibly difficult to comprehend and challenging to prove. A better understanding of it and the law is necessary to determine if the person charged is indeed a victim.
Understanding Entrapment in Florida
Florida Statute § 777.201(1) provides the legal definition of entrapment. It states that entrapment takes place when a police officer (or another individual acting as an officer of the law) persuades or induces another person to commit a crime which that individual would otherwise not commit. Because entrapment is illegal, a not-guilty verdict may be delivered when it is used as a viable defense and proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
In cases of this type, one of the most important factors of which to be aware is that in order to leverage entrapment as a defense, you must admit that you did, in fact, commit the crime of which you are charged. Clearly, if you did not act illegally, then you could not have been a victim of entrapment.
Types of Entrapment
There are two unique types of entrapment in Florida — subjective entrapment and objective entrapment. Recognizing the difference between the two is important in building your defense.
Subjective entrapment in Florida focuses on the behavior and intentions of the accused. Basically, it asks whether the accused, specifically, would have committed the crime without the encouragement of law enforcement. Proving subjective entrapment is onerous because the accused and their attorneys must substantiate that law enforcement induced the defendant into acting illegally. The prosecution’s goal would then be to identify and provide evidence that shows that the defendant was already likely to commit the crime at hand.
Conversely, objective entrapment centers on the actions of the officers of the law and requires the defense to prove that these professionals used inappropriate actions to motivate the individual to act illegally. Proving objective entrapment is more straightforward. The defense attorney needs to demonstrate that a person who generally abides by the law would have been coerced into committing the crime in a similar position. Proof regarding the accused specifically is not necessary when objective entrapment is the defense.
Examples of Entrapment
Perhaps the best way to illustrate entrapment in Florida is to provide examples of the situations in which it is most prevalent.
- Sex Crimes: In Florida, sex crimes are serious. Law enforcement works tirelessly to identify this activity and arrest those involved. That said, sometimes they illegally entrap individuals into committing these crimes. One of the most likely scenarios is when a law enforcement officer poses as a prostitute and solicits sexual activity.
- Drug Crimes: Common in Florida, entrapment with regard to drug crimes can take a variety of routes. For example, in some cases individuals are pressured to sell their prescription drugs illegally. Another example focuses on illegal drug trafficking, a significant problem in the state. In cases like this, an otherwise innocent individual may be coerced to act as a type of messenger, exchanging an unknown package for a predetermined sum of money. The individual would be paid for this service.
Of course, these are not the only two scenarios where entrapment may occur. Other areas include white collar crimes, including insider trading, fraud, and embezzlement. Leveraging entrapment as a defense strategy can be risky, but it may also be the key to your freedom.
Is Claiming Entrapment a Good Defense Strategy?
Determining whether or not to use entrapment as your defense is a difficult decision, one that should be made with guidance of a seasoned criminal defense attorney experienced in using this strategy.
If your attorney can prove entrapment, you will be found not guilty – this makes it extremely attractive. Additionally, juries, which are composed of “regular people” (your peers), tend to be disappointed when those whose job it is to protect them take advantage of their power and behave inappropriately. Nevertheless, proving entrapment is never easy.
Prosecutors will dig deep into your past actions to show the jury that you are not as innocent as you would like them to believe.
Looking back, if you have instances of inappropriate behavior in your past, your case may not be a good candidate for an entrapment defense. Before claiming entrapment, it is critical that your attorney reviews all aspects of your case and your life.
The Criminal Attorneys at Taracks & Associates Can Help Build a Solid Defense
They Understand How to Prove Entrapment
Being accused of a crime is serious, regardless of how it occurred. In situations like this, much of what happens is out of your hands, but controlling what you can is always a good decision. If you have been accused of a crime, this means engaging experienced and knowledgeable legal representation.
If you believe you were illegally coerced into committing a crime, working with a criminal defense attorney who understands the laws surrounding entrapment and who has hands-on experience successfully using this challenging defense strategy is paramount. Knowledge is power – let your counsel leverage their experience on your behalf.
It is time to contact a criminal defense lawyer at Taracks & Associates. Led by Barry Taracks, our team will provide you with a free consultation and case evaluation during which we can learn more about your situation and share our initial thoughts for protecting you. Time is a valuable asset in criminal cases; contact us today at 813-281-2897. We serve all counties in Florida and are licensed in federal court.