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Felonies: When can entrapment be used as a defense?

| Mar 18, 2020 | Felonies |

When residents of Michigan or elsewhere sell drugs to someone who turns out to be a government agent or undercover police officer, the seller might accuse the buyer of entrapment. But what is entrapment? For entrapment to occur, a police officer, DEA officer, FBI agent, or other law enforcement or government agent must persuade or influence someone to commit felonies that he or she would not have committed but for the persuasion of the agent.

A government agent can also be a felon who agrees to play the role of an informant for a police officer. The informant will then qualify as a government agent for the duration of a sting or undercover operation. However, that will not apply if a civilian with no connection to a law enforcement agent convinces another party to sell or purchase drugs or commit another felony.

The part of the definition of entrapment that is often overlooked is the bit about a crime that the person would not have done had the undercover agent not convinced him or her to do it. This might be a problematic part of entrapment to prove. An undercover operation involving the buying or selling of drugs is typically arranged to catch people who are already suspected buyers or sellers who would do deals with others regardless of the persuasion of government agents.

When someone in Michigan is accused of committing felonies that resulted from an undercover operation, the sensible step would be to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Legal counsel can assess the circumstances and determine whether entrapment can be used as a defense. The lawyer will devise a defense strategy after studying the charges, evidence and other aspects of the case to achieve the best possible outcome for the client.