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Drug entrapment is a defense that may apply in certain criminal cases as an absolute defense. The defendant proves that they committed an offense only because they were coerced or harassed by a government official, like the police. Undercover officers or decoys may act in a way that pressures a law abiding citizen, as is often the case in drug sale criminal cases. As a skilled Riverside drug offenses attorney, Gregory H. Comings understands California’s entrapment laws and can assess whether this defense may apply based on your specific circumstances. At The Law Office of Gregory H.Comings, we treat every case with the utmost importance that it deserves, remaining accessible to clients and helping them understand their rights throughout the process.
There are different methods a criminal defendant may use to attack the case against them. An affirmative defense is one way to prevent conviction, even if the prosecution has evidence that the defendant met all elements of the offense. For certain drug offenses, if the defendant did not willfully and voluntarily commit the crime, they may be able to raise an entrapment defense.
As an affirmative defense, drug entrapment requires that the defendant show, by a “preponderance of the evidence,” that the official is guilty. This generally means, “more likely than not.” In other words, it is more likely than not that the defendant suffered entrapment by a law officer or agent. This standard is lower than that required for the prosecution to prove guilt. To prove guilt, the prosecution must show, “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the defendant is guilty.
A defendant must set forth evidence that proves entrapment took place. In doing so, the defendant does not concede their guilt. Instead, they maintain they are innocent and the police officer is guilty of entrapment. Examples of entrapment related to drug offenses can include guarantees that the act is not illegal, or repeated, insistent requests.
To support the affirmative defense of entrapment, the defendant must prove that law enforcement agents introduced the idea of committing a crime; the defendant was not “ready and willing” to commit such crime, and; law enforcement agents actually coerced or persuaded the defendant to commit the crime. This last element is supported, often, by showing improper conduct by the agents. It must be more than simply providing an opportunity to the defendant. Harassment, threats, and intense pressure are examples of inappropriate conduct by an officer.
A critical element of the entrapment defense is the conduct of the officer, or an agent. An agent is an individual that performs an act at the request or suggestion of an officer. In some situations, the agent may not even know the officer’s true identity. A limitation to the entrapment defense is that it applies only to law enforcement or their agents. Entrapment does not apply to ordinary citizens or a paid informant.
An example of entrapment may include a situation in which law enforcement harass a suspected dealer who initially refuses to sell drugs to them. Perhaps they relentlessly claim that they will die or suffer withdrawal without the drugs. If the dealer relents and sells drugs, they could have a valid entrapment defense. The dealer defendant had been inappropriately induced into committing a criminal act.
Riverside drug entrapment Attorney Comings helps citizens reduce or dismiss their criminal charges. If you are facing arrest for a drug offense and may be the victim of entrapment, contact the Law Office of Gregory H. Comings. We proudly assist people throughout San Bernardino and surrounding counties, including Palm Springs, Moreno Valley, Highland, Redlands, Corona, and Victorville in keeping their records clean. Contact us for a free consultation by calling (951) 686-3457 or reaching us online.