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How can I show the government coerced me into committing a crime?

| Feb 13, 2017 | Criminal Defense

Anyone can make an error in judgment. And in some circumstances, an error can lead to very serious legal issues. And it’s one thing for you to make a mistake on your own, which leads to your arrest, but it’s quite another if you are coerced by someone who is acting as an agent of the government.

The act of a government agent inducing someone to commit a crime that he or she would not have committed otherwise is known as entrapment. And if you have been charged with a crime that you were in some way convinced to be involved in, you may be able to use the entrapment defense.

Typically, there are a couple of ways to demonstrate that entrapment occurred. One way is to prove that a government agent presented the possible risks of a crime in such a way that it encouraged you to commit the act even though you normally would not consider doing so. The other way to successfully use the entrapment defense is to prove that the government agent brought undue pressure or used fraudulent tactics to convince you to commit the crime.

But there are a couple of things to understand about the entrapment defense. First, entrapment can only be committed by a government agent, but this includes civilians who are working undercover. And persons with no affiliation to the government cannot commit entrapment. This means even if others are setting you up to take the fall for a crime, it is not entrapment unless they were working for a government agency.

To counter the entrapment defense, prosecutors may try to present evidence indicating that you were predisposed to committing the crime and needed no coercion to do so. But the requirement of the prosecutor is to prove your intentions beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you have been charged with a crime and you believe that you were a victim of entrapment, you may want to discuss the matter with a knowledgeable attorney. The attorney can assess your case and help you decide the best possible defense strategy to pursue.