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What is entrapment?

People often get confused about entrapment. One of the most common misconceptions is that the police can't wait around for you to commit a crime.

In reality, entrapment is more than just waiting to see if you break the law. The police have to be involved. If they get you to do it, just so they can arrest you, it's a fraudulent arrest and a violation of your rights.

That doesn't mean they can't let you commit a crime, however. The important part is whether or not you would have committed the crime on your own.

For instance, perhaps you are looking to buy illegal narcotics. You talk to an undercover officer, asking if he'll sell you the drugs. He does, and then he arrests you. That's not entrapment. You instigated it and got caught.

Maybe you're not looking to buy drugs, though, and the officer approaches you out of the blue. He asks you if you want to buy the narcotics and shows them to you. You say you will. He then arrests you. That could be entrapment because you never would have bought the drugs if the officer hadn't offered them.

In essence, this rule is to make sure that police are arresting people for committing crimes, not causing crimes just so that they can then make the arrests. Your free will is important. Police must react to what is already happening without their influence.

Do you think that the police committed fraud and violated your rights in order to arrest you? If so, it's absolutely critical that you know all of the legal options you have.

Source: LawShelf, "Entrapment," accessed Nov. 14, 2017

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