Can you claim entrapment as a defense?

If the police charge you with a crime, it’s crucial to remember there are many defense options available. Sometimes trying to say you did not do it is unlikely to succeed, so it is better to try and disqualify the charge somehow.

One way that might be possible is to claim entrapment.

What is entrapment?

Texas law
defines it as when a person “engaged in the conduct charged because he was induced to do so by a law enforcement agent using persuasion or other means likely to cause persons to commit the offense.”

It goes on to state that giving you the opportunity to commit the offense is not enough alone.

Let’s look at two examples:

An undercover police officer poses as a colleague in the store you work in. One day they purposefully leave the till open when you are next to them, then walk away, hoping you will steal money. If you do, you will not be able to use entrapment as an offense. They gave you an opportunity to steal, but they did not persuade you to.

If, however, the “colleague” somehow persuades or pressures you into doing it, you might be able to claim entrapment. For instance, if they tell you to take the money and give them half or they will tell the boss you have been stealing on other occasions.

The dividing line is not always clear, and if you want to use it, you will need legal help to convince the court that the law enforcement agent did indeed overstep the boundaries. If you can prove that, you may be able to walk away without facing the considerable penalties that a conviction would bring.