What is Entrapment?
One of the most important things to remember when protecting or asserting your constitutional rights is that police officers have limits placed on their power. Although law enforcement is given the power to regulate behavior and enforce order at the state level, there are key limits placed on police authority.
Just as Arizona citizens are protected from "unreasonable" police searches and seizures, for example, so too are Arizona citizens protected from entrapment.
The concept of entrapment broadly states that Arizona law enforcement cannot induce a defendant to commit a crime that would not have been committed without law enforcement presenting the opportunity to do so.
Put another way, but for the police officer engaging in extreme behavior that induced the defendant to commit a crime, the crime would not have been committed.
This broad principle is helpfully clarified by Section 13-206 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.
Section 13-206 on Arizona Entrapment
Entrapment is a tricky legal defense to assert, in part because Arizona law requires the defendant to admit to the substantial elements of the criminal offense.
In effect, the defendant's legal argument begins by admitting that the crime was committed.
From there, the entrapment defense must prove with clear and convincing evidence would not have been committed without the extreme behavior of Arizona law enforcement.
Specifically, successfully arguing an entrapment defense requires that each of the following must be proven with "clear and convincing evidence":
First, it must be shown that the idea of committing the crime was law enforcement's, but it was not the idea of the defendant who was induced to commit the crime.
Second, the defendant committed the offense because law enforcement officers or their agents made efforts to either urge or induce the legal offense to take place.
Third, the defendant must prove that he or she had no predisposition to commit the offense until law enforcement urged or induced the criminal offense.
If all these elements are proven with the help of an Phoenix criminal defense attorney, then entrapment will be successfully proven.
Key Limitations on Entrapment in Arizona
Based on the legal language of Section 13-206, some may conclude that any time law enforcement provides an opportunity to commit a crime amounts to entrapment.
This is not a correct interpretation of the statute.
Note that it is the defendant's burden to prove that they did not already have a predisposition to commit a crime.
Suppose, for example, Arizona law enforcement goes undercover to complete an illicit drug sale with a suspected drug dealer.
If the suspected dealer does in fact sell drugs, it would be difficult to prove that the defendant did not already have a predisposition to illegally sell the drugs.
Likewise, the mere fact that law enforcement attempted to conceal the identity of a law enforcement officer does not prove entrapment.
Law enforcement personnel can conceal their identity, so long as the defendant is not unlawfully induced to commit a crime.
That said, extreme behavior such as repeated harassment by law enforcement in the attempt to find drugs could qualify as entrapment.
The key takeaway to keep in mind is that proving entrapment can be difficult, but it almost certainly requires the help of an experienced Phoenix criminal defense lawyer.
Talk to a Phoenix Entrapment Attorney at Tyler Allen Law Firm
At Tyler Allen Law Firm, PLLC, we help Arizona defendants build a strong case based that entrapment occurred based on clear and convincing evidence.
To this end, we will investigate the facts of your case and seek out witnesses who can prove that you were unlawfully pressured to commit a criminal offense.
Contact us today for a legal consultation to confidentially discuss the facts of your Arizona criminal defense case.