Drug Entrapment

Tempe Law Firm for Drug Crimes Charges

Drug entrapment can be a strong defense to charges such as sales and manufacturing of narcotics or dangerous drugs. However, in order to assert this complicated defense, you should seek legal representation from an experienced Tempe drug crimes attorney. You should discuss your situation with James E. Novak. As a former prosecutor turned criminal defense attorney, he understands how to effectively mount this challenging defense and when it’s appropriate to assert it.

Drug Entrapment

Entrapment is a legal defense that applies when law enforcement decides to perpetrate a crime but convinces the defendant to carry it out. The governing law of the entrapment defense is set forth under A.R.S. section 13-206. If we’re asserting entrapment on your behalf, our Tempe lawyer will need to prove: (1) police officers came up with the idea of committing the drug crime, (2) they induced you to perpetrate it, (3) you weren’t predisposed to commit the drug crime prior to the officers’ inducement. It is not necessarily entrapment for a police officer to go undercover or otherwise hide their identity in investigating a crime.

A critical question we may face in trying to present this defense is whether you were predisposed to commit the drug crime. If the prosecutor has strong evidence you were fine with committing similar drug crimes in the past or wanted to commit the crime from the outset or well beforehand, we will not be able to establish entrapment in your case. We need to be able to show you didn’t want to carry out the drug crime at issue. For instance, if an undercover police officer convinced you to make methamphetamine and you hadn’t been involved with drugs in the past, it would be appropriate to assert the entrapment defense. Similarly, if a plainclothes police officer told you to sell some heroin for him and you hadn’t done anything similar in the past, entrapment would likely apply.

Clear and Convincing Evidence

Police officers aren’t allowed to coerce or use improper tactics to persuade you to commit a drug crime you didn’t want to do. We’ll have the burden of showing you were entrapped by clear and convincing evidence. While clear and convincing evidence is not as high a standard as “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is the standard of proof in criminal cases, it is higher than a preponderance of the evidence.

Admitting the Crime

The tricky aspect of raising entrapment as a defense is that you have to admit you did the crime to raise it; you’ll have to admit the elements of the criminal charge. Your admission has to be active not passive; in other words, we will need to show the jury evidence that demonstrates you confessed or admitted elements of the underlying offense. This admission could have a negative impact if you weren’t represented in the course of raising the defense. However, it’s also important not to simply leave a prosecutor’s charges unanswered. Once entrapment is raised as a defense, you won’t be able to raise other potentially applicable defenses such as self-defense, defense of property, defense of a third person, mistake of fact, lack of knowledge, or insanity.

This is why it is so important to retain counsel early on in your case, even before charges have been filed. Since entrapment is an affirmative defense and you have the choice not to raise it, your Fifth Amendment rights would not be implicated by admitting the crime in the context of raising the defense. Admissions you willingly make on your own to law enforcement or a prosecutors can be admitted at trial to obtain a conviction. Once we provide clear and convincing evidence of entrapment at trial, however, the jury should be given an instruction on entrapment.

Hire Seasoned Drug Crimes Counsel

Drug entrapment is an important defense in Tempe. If it might apply to your case, it is imperative to retain a law firm that understands how to assert it properly to avoid doing you harm. Not every attorney has the experience and understanding of strategy required to understand when this defense applies or how best to follow through with it at trial if necessary. James E. Novak may be able to represent you. He represents those accused in Phoenix, as well as Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, and Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.

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