A Columbia criminal defense attorney breaks down everything you should know
"Entrapment" is among the many legal actions and ideas that the entertainment industry gets wrong.
Just like there is, generally, no such thing as a "surprise" witness (attorneys must identify witnesses and evidence before trial), not every "setup" falls under entrapment.
Entrapment is a criminal defense strategy. Not every state recognizes this defense, but, under certain circumstances, South Carolina does. This type of defense may be useful in cases where a person is facing drug charges after allegedly selling narcotics to an undercover police officer.
Typically by claiming entrapment, a person is saying that law enforcement or another government authority induced them to commit a crime that they would otherwise not have committed.
Entrapment may be a good defense to use to fight charges of:
- Drug possession
- Drug distribution or trafficking
- Burglary and theft
- Minor in possession of alcohol
- White Collar crimes
- Insurance fraud
- Computer and internet crimes
When to claim entrapment
The entrapment defense seeks to upend a prosecution's case when there appears to be enough evidence to convict.
In general, your drug defense attorney will argue that this evidence isn't proof of a crime committed by their client; it is proof of an underhanded government scheme to justify prosecution.
To successfully use the entrapment defense in South Carolina, your attorney must prove two things:
- You were induced to act by government trickery, persuasion, flattery, or fraud to commit the alleged crime
- You are not predisposed to commit such a crime
Burden of proof
Entrapment is an affirmative defense strategy, which means that your attorney must prove your version of events. In a negative defense, your attorney shows all the reasons to doubt the prosecution's case.
There are typically four components to entrapment. This defense claims that government agents were the ones to:
- Originate criminal intent
- Implant this intent in an innocent person
- Induce the commission of a purported illegal act
- And did so with the intent to arrest and/or prosecute a person who is not predisposed to commit the alleged crime
Criminal records and predisposition
Entrapment defenses work best in situations where the defendant has no prior criminal history associated with the charges at hand.
Prosecutors often use criminal records in an attempt to prove the defendant is predisposed to such illegal activity.
Your defense attorney can push back on this unfair implication. Just because a person is found guilty of a crime once, it does not automatically mean that they are predisposed to doing it again.
Facing charges? You need strategic criminal defense
The entrapment defense can be used in South Carolina, but it is advisable only under certain conditions. This is why if you're facing charges, you should talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your specific situation. That way, you can get a clear understanding of your legal rights and options.
Attorney Matt Bodman is a trial-tested criminal defense lawyer in Columbia, SC who knows how to handle tough cases. Discover what he can do for you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We are ready to hear from you right now.