What is Entrapment?
Entrapment is a defense argument that is used in certain Oklahoma criminal cases. Essentially, the entrapment defense states that the defendant committed the crime, but only under threat or coercion from a law enforcement agent.
Entrapment is considered an affirmative defense, meaning that the defendant admits to committing the offense but offers up a justification for doing so.
What Constitutes Entrapment?
The most typical scenario under which entrapment may occur includes police or other law enforcement agents working undercover. Undercover agents are actually legally allowed to tell lies and use false identities; however, there is a limit to how far they may go when trying to catch someone committing a crime.
For example, an undercover officer may present an investigatory subject the opportunity to commit a crime—say, by offering to buy or sell drugs or other contraband. But simply offering the chance to commit a crime does not constitute entrapment, because there is an expectation that ordinary, law-abiding citizens will not choose to break the law.
If, however, the undercover agent resorts to harassing, threatening or otherwise pushing the person to commit the crime to the extent that he or she is coerced into doing so, then it may constitute entrapment.
Legal Standards for Entrapment
There are two legal standards used in determining whether entrapment occurred: objective and subjective. Each state uses one of these two standards in entrapment cases.
- The objective standard requires that the undercover agent’s actions would have induced an average, law-abiding citizen to commit the crime.
- The subjective standard is much murkier; it involves determining whether the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime as well as the actions taken by the undercover officer. This can include introducing evidence such as previous criminal charges for similar offenses.
Oklahoma uses the subjective standard for determining entrapment.
If you have been arrested and charged with an Oklahoma crime and feel that you may have been entrapped, contact our office right away. There may be other viable defenses available that do not involve you admitting guilt and could even possibly get your case dismissed.