What is Entrapment?

What is Entrapment?


In criminal law, Entrapment occurs when a law enforcement agent induces or convinces a person to commit or participate in a criminal offense in which the person might not otherwise have participated. In many jurisdictions this behavior by law enforcement is frown upon and could lead to criminal liability of the law enforcement organization.  A sting operation is often burdened with ethical questions as to whether or not it constitutes entrapment.

In some jurisdictions, the prosecution is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not a victim of entrapment by law enforcement.


The Entrapment defense arises when a government agent uses force or abusive behavior, to coerce an individual to go forward with the agent or police officer who asks an individual to commit a crime, or when the agent or police officer uses, harassment, threats, or even to flattery in order to induce the defendant to commit the criminal act.

Here is an example of a possible case of Entrapment:

An individual, let’s call her Suzie, stands charged of selling prescription drugs to an undercover Drug Enforcement Agent (DEA.) Suzie has stated that the drugs were prescribed to her by a physician and for personal use. Furthermore, according to Suzie, the only reason she sold pills to the undercover agent was because the agent told her that he had hurt his back and needed to be able to go to work.  Suzie also claims that when she expressed concerned about selling him a couple of pills, the agent laughed it off assured Suzie that he was not an agent or anything like that and was not trying to set her up. In this case, the agent clearly gave Suzie the opportunity to break laws although he was not excessive or overbearing in his actions. Suzie’s intentions were not to break the law but to help someone who claimed to be in pain.


Only a Member of Law Enforcement Can Entrap

Entrapment defenses were set in motion to protect unsuspecting citizens from outrageous conduct by overzealous law enforcement or any other public official. Be clear: An Entrapment defense is not available in a criminal prosecution because one private individual convinced another to commit a crime.

Remember, the information provided herein is not intended as legal advice; instead we seek to provide you with a general idea of what can happen during the legal process.

Always seek competent legal advice. Entrapment, as a defense must be presented carefully and with knowledge.  Our Trial Team can provide you with expertise necessary to succeed. Attorney Martin E. Regan, Jr. is an experienced, skillful attorney who, in 2013 won the acquittal of five defendants accused of murder as well as the freedom of many others.

Knowledge, experience and skill matters.  At The Law Firm of Regan Law our primary interest is to provide you, our client, with excellent representation.