When building a case involving one or more
drug crimes, it is not uncommon for law enforcement authorities to conduct sting operations
or use undercover decoys. In many drug cases, it is critical to actually
catch an individual in the act of selling, or offering to sell, drugs
in order to get sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction.
The courts consider sting operations permissible law enforcement exercises
as long as they are performed lawfully. There are cases where the undercover
officer or decoy acts improperly or pressures the defendant into committing
a crime that he or she would not otherwise commit. In these cases, the
defense may be able to raise the defense of entrapment, arguing that the
defendant did not commit the crime in a willful and voluntary manner.
In order to successfully assert entrapment as a viable defense when facing
drug charges, the following key elements must be proven:
- The idea to buy or sell the drugs was initially conceived by the police,
not the defendant.
- The undercover authorities urged and induced the defendant to purchase
or sell the drugs.
- The defendant was not inclined or predisposed to buy or sell the drugs
before law enforcement officials urged or induced the defendant to do so.
So if a police officer or undercover decoy approaches the defendant to
purchase drugs and the decoy makes the verbal request, pays the money,
accepts the drugs, and then leaves, this situation would likely not be
considered entrapment. Since the decoy merely provided the opportunity
for the target of the sting operation to commit a crime and the target
acted on this opportunity.
On the other hand, if a police officer or decoy approaches the target who
refuses to sell drugs, and the decoy pesters the target and apply pressure
in order to get the target to sell drugs, thus coaxing the target to sell
the drugs, the suspected drug dealer may have a viable case for the entrapment
defense. For instance, if the decoy claims that he or she may die or suffer
serious withdrawal symptoms if no drugs are given, or if the decoy continuously
harasses the target until he or she relents and agrees to sell the narcotics,
these examples may provide the defense with a valid entrapment defense
since the defendant was inappropriately induced into committing a criminal offense.
Keep in mind, the entrapment defense only applies when the act is committed
by a law enforcement official or by a person acting as an agent for law
enforcement. It doesn’t apply to ordinary citizens who are not acting
officially as agents of law enforcement.
If you have been arrested for a drug crime in Orlando, discuss your legal
options with our experienced legal team at
Longwell Lawyers today.