Entrapment in White Collar Crimes
Although white collar crimes vary in their seriousness and application, they usually involve nonviolent acts that have a monetary component. Unfortunately, in their zeal to apprehend those who are involved in white collar crime, investigators and prosecutors often use unsavory or even unlawful methods of identifying suspects. For instance, entrapment, which involves an officer or agent inducing another person to commit a crime, is often used to justify arrests.
Defendants who have fallen victim to entrapment can and should raise it as a defense to their white collar crime charges, although doing so can be difficult, so if you were entrapped by a law enforcement officer and have since been charged with a crime, it is critical to speak with an experienced white collar crime lawyer who may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed.
What is Entrapment?
Entrapment occurs when a government agent or law enforcement officer convinces another person to commit a crime that the individual would not have normally contemplated, in an effort to prosecute the person for the offense. Entrapment is an affirmative defense, which means that although it doesn’t prevent prosecutors from filing charges against a defendant, it can be used to later void those charges. However, before this can take place, a defendant must be able to prove a number of different elements, including that:
- The government agent approached him or her and was responsible for introducing the idea of the crime; and
- He or she was not predisposed to commit the crime and did so because the officer acted in a coercive or improper manner.
Generally, mere solicitation is not enough to satisfy the element of inducement, nor does an officer’s use of pretense, deceit, or artifice establish proof of this element. Instead, in order to successfully raise this defense, a person must be able to provide proof of:
- Persuasion or mild coercion;
- Pleas based on need, friendship, or sympathy; or
- Extraordinary promises of a type that would blind an ordinary person to his or her legal duties.
Even if inducement has been demonstrated, a defendant must still be able to prove that he or she was not disposed to commit the crime. It’s also important to note that courts do not consider predisposition and intent to be the same thing, as predisposition can exist even in the absence of prior criminal involvement and a person can intend to commit a crime, but still not have been predisposed to commit it.
Fortunately, even though prosecutors are required to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, defendants need only demonstrate entrapment by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it is more likely than not that he or she was entrapped, in order to avoid conviction.
Contact Our Legal Team to Begin Working on Your Defense Today
If you have been charged with a crime and believe that you were entrapped by law enforcement officers, please contact dedicated Miami white collar crime attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys at 305-670-9919 to learn more about raising this defense.