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Arguing the Defense of Entrapment

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When someone is accused of committing a white collar crime, entrapment is one of the best available defenses. To successfully argue this defense, a defendant must provide evidence demonstrating that he or she would not have committed the crime without pressure from law enforcement officers. Although not impossible to prove, entrapment is a difficult defense to argue, so if you are being investigated for committing a crime that involved undercover agents, it is critical to contact an experienced white collar crime attorney who can help you formulate a defense.

Establishing Entrapment

An entrapment defense has two major elements, which require proof that:

  • The government, or one of its agents, induced the defendant to commit a crime; and
  • The defendant lacked the predisposition to engage in the criminal conduct in question.

Fortunately, defendants can raise the defense of entrapment without actually admitting to the crime. However, to successfully argue entrapment, defendants must still prove that an officer’s actions constituted inducement. Merely presenting an opportunity to commit a crime will not satisfy this burden. Courts have also determined that the government’s use of certain tactics does not establish inducement, including the use of:

  • Artifice;
  • Stratagem;
  • Pretense; or
  • Deceit.

Instead, a defendant must show that the agent induced the commission of the crime through:

  • Persuasion;
  • Coercion;
  • Pleas based on need, sympathy, or friendship; or
  • Extraordinary promises.

Generally, this requires demonstrating that the pressure applied by the officer was enough to cause a reasonable person to give in and agree to commit the crime. In white collar crime situations, this usually involves showing that the agent threatened the defendant’s reputation or livelihood.

Predisposition

Even defendants who can establish that an officer’s actions constituted inducement will still need to prove that if not for the officer’s behavior, they would not have committed the crime. This can be difficult to prove and certain evidence, such as predisposition, will weigh heavily against the defendant. For instance, if the defendant has been convicted on a prior occasion for the same type of crime, he or she will most likely not be able to convince a judge or a jury that in this case, committing the crime was involuntary. However, this is not the only way that a prosecutor can use predisposition to defeat an entrapment defense. For example, even in the absence of prior criminal activity, a defendant’s prompt commission of the act will satisfy the predisposition requirement.

Contact an Experienced Florida White Collar Crime Attorney Today

Many individuals who are charged with committing white collar crimes were persuaded or coerced to commit the crime by an undercover law enforcement agent. In these cases, a defendant may be able to successfully argue entrapment, which is a complete defense and may result in a person’s charges being reduced or even dismissed. To learn more about this and other defenses to allegations of white collar crime in Miami, please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorneys at 305-670-9919 to schedule an initial case evaluation with a dedicated white collar crime attorney who can explain your options.

Resource:

justice.gov/usam/criminal-resource-manual-646-recent-entrapment-cases

Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys, is located in Miami, Florida and serves the following communities: Alachua County, Gainesville, Orlando, Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Pompano Beach, Collier County, Naples, Hillsborough County, Tampa, Indian River County, Vero Beach, Lee County, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, North Fort Myers, Manatee County, Sarasota, Marion County, Ocala, Ocklawaha, Miami-Dade County, Hialeah, Homestead, Key Biscayne, Miami, Miami Beach, and North Miami Beach.
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