Affirmative defenses for criminal cases can be some of the most effective, and also the most dangerous defenses to raise. Affirmative defenses, including self defense, necessity, or duress, often require the defendant to admit that he or she actually committed a crime. An affirmative defense typically argues that even though a crime was committed, extenuating circumstances legally justified the commission of the offense. Whereas criminal statutes are often vague and overbroad so that police and prosecutors can charge as many people as possible with criminal offenses, our lawmakers have made sure to keep the laws on affirmative defenses as specific as possible to reduce the amount of defendants who are able to assert them. If you are charged with a crime and believe that your actions were justified by an affirmative defense, don’t hesitate to contact a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyer to help build your case.
One of the most complex and difficult to establish affirmative defenses is the offense of entrapment. While difficult to utilize at trial due to the specific elements that must be met to bring an entrapment defense, the prevalence of police sting operations has increased the prevalence of potential entrapment cases. Often clients will approach us and claim that they were entrapped by the police, but in reality only a very specific set of circumstances will allow a defendant to pursue a claim of entrapment.Elements of Entrapment
The affirmative defense of entrapment is written into the law as Florida Statute 777.201. Under the wording of the law, “A law enforcement officer, a person engaged in cooperation with a law enforcement officer, or a person acting as an agent of a law enforcement officer perpetrates an entrapment if, for the purpose of obtaining evidence of the commission of a crime, he or she induces or encourages and, as a direct result, causes another person to engage in conduct constituting such crime by employing methods of persuasion or inducement which create a substantial risk that such crime will be committed by a person other than one who is ready to commit it.” If a defendant proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the police, or someone associated with the police committed entrapment and the crime was committed as a result, the defendant shall be acquitted.
Entrapment defenses can typically be raised in situations where the police or law enforcement are conducting a “sting” operation. A sting operation is one in which the police fabricate crimes in order to make arrests of people that would otherwise have committed a “real” crime. Common examples of sting operations include prostitution stings, where undercover officers will pose as prostitutes to induce defendants to agree to pay for sex. Other times, police will be even more nefarious and complex in their schemes. Police have gone as far as to fabricate elaborate burglary schemes where they give information to potential burglars and induce them to rob vacant hotel rooms with unloaded weapons inside so that they can charge those people with first degree armed burglary. If you have found yourself in a situation where you believe you’ve been entrapped by the police, you should not hesitate to contact a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney to analyze your case.
The key to proving an entrapment case is presenting evidence that the defendant was a person who would otherwise have not committed the crime. This element is what makes entrapment defenses so tricky. A skilled attorney may be able to investigate your case and present evidence that you were a person who was not otherwise likely to commit a crime without the undue influence of the police. It is not unusual to see police in sting operations go to great lengths to coerce people into committing crimes.Speak to Our Lawyers Today
The attorneys at Hanlon Law are committed to building the best defense for your case. If you think that you’ve been the victim of police entrapment, you should not hesitate to contact us immediately for a consultation at 727.897.5413.