Entrapment is a legal defense that may be raised in criminal cases in the state of Florida. In general, entrapment occurs when law enforcement officers or government agents induce or persuade an individual to commit a crime that they would not have otherwise committed. The key element is the improper inducement by law enforcement.
In Florida, entrapment is recognized as a defense. The Florida Supreme Court has held that entrapment occurs when a law enforcement officer induces or encourages the commission of a crime for the purpose of prosecuting the person for the offense. The defendant must show that they were not predisposed to commit the crime and that the idea and intent originated with law enforcement. See Munoz v. State.
It’s important to note that the mere provision of an opportunity to commit a crime or the use of undercover operations does not, by itself, constitute entrapment. The focus is on whether the government’s conduct went beyond providing an opportunity and actually led to the commission of the crime by someone who was not predisposed to commit it.
Dismissal of Charges
If a defendant successfully raises the defense of entrapment, the charges against them may be dismissed. Each case is unique, and the outcome will depend on the specific facts and circumstances involved.
What You Need To Know About Entrapment
If you believe that you have been entrapped, you may be entitled to a hearing to establish whether you have been entrapped as a matter of law. The government is not allowed to trick someone into violating the law and then arrest them for the violation.
Occasionally, the government oversteps the line between setting a trap for the unwary innocent individual and the unwary criminal. Sometimes the government or its agents induce an offense when an individual is not predisposed to commit the particular crime.
Law Enforcement May Not Create Crime
Government agents may not originate a criminal offence, implant in an innocent person’s mind the disposition to commit a criminal act, and then induce commission of the crime so that the government may prosecute. Where the government has induced an individual to break the law and the defense of entrapment is at issue, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was disposed to commit the criminal act prior to first being approached by government agents. The government may not play on the weaknesses of an innocent party and influence him into committing crimes which he otherwise would not have attempted. Law enforcement officials go too far when they implant in the mind of an innocent person the disposition to commit the alleged offense and induce its commission in order that they may prosecute. When the government’s quest for convictions leads to the apprehension of an otherwise law-abiding citizen who, if left to his own devices, likely would have never run afoul of the law, the courts should intervene.
Entrapped As A Question of Law
In entrapment cases two questions of fact arise: (1) did the agent induce the accused to commit the offence charged; and (2) if so, was the accused ready and willing without persuasion to commit the offence.
In certain instances, the question whether an accused was entrapped rests with the trial court for resolution as a matter of law.
1. The first question is whether an agent of the government induced the accused to commit the offense charged.
2. If the first question is answered affirmatively, then a second question arises as to whether the accused was predisposed to commit the offense charged, that is, whether the accused was ready and willing, without persuasion, to commit the offense.
3. The third question is whether the entrapment evaluation should be submitted to a jury.
If the facts are undisputed and reasonable persons could not disagree, then the trial court may rule on the entrapment issue as a matter of law. See Section 777.201, Florida Statutes.
Consult an Attorney
If you are facing legal issues or have questions about a specific case, it’s advisable to consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney in Florida who can provide guidance based on the details of your situation.
If you have been arrested for a criminal offense and believe that you have been entrapped by law enforcement, you may be entitled to a hearing to determine whether you have been entrapped as a matter of law. If the judge finds that you have been entrapped as a matter of law, you may be entitled to have the case dismissed. Contact a criminal defense lawyer and request a hearing to determine if you have been entrapped as a matter of law.