Entrapment is a full defense that is common to certain types of criminal cases. Among these are drug sales cases, prostitution and charges of lewd conduct. Depending on the specific facts of the case, as well as the individual’s background, the defense may be successful and will result in a dismissal.
One of the types of charges where Entrapment is argued often is in drug sales. The typical case will involve an undercover officer who asks to buy drugs from a known dealer. The dealer sells drugs to the officer and is arrested and charged with a violation of the California Health and Safety Code § 11352. §11352 makes it unlawful for any person to be transporting or selling a controlled substance.
The defense will only be successful if the person was coerced or pressured into selling the controlled substance to the officer. It must be more than a suggestion, it must be enough to make reasonable person feel that they cannot refuse but do as the officer asks. If the person is predisposed to selling drugs then the entrapment defense will not work. The prosecutor will demonstrate that a person has the predisposition to commit a crime through the use of any existing criminal record and proof of character.
For example, Person A has been convicted of selling a controlled substance 7 years ago. He is known as a seller and officers have been observing him for two weeks. Eventually an officer goes undercover, approaches A and asks to buy some of what he is selling. Person A initially refuses and the officer starts to walk away. As the officer walks away, A calls him back and exchanges the substance for cash. Person A is arrested and charged.
In the above mentioned situation, an entrapment defense may be weak based on the facts. The person has been previously convicted of selling a controlled substance, which implies that they have the predisposition to engage in the illegal act of selling drugs since they have been convicted of the act before. Any evidence of predisposition will often weaken the person’s argument for entrapment.
Additionally, in the example there is no pressure or force coming from the officer. The officer walks away after he is told no, but person A asks the officer to come back. If Person A tries to make a case for entrapment, it might be dismissed because there is no evidence of pressure or force, and it seems as if they are predisposed to sell controlled substances.
In cases involving charges of California Drug Sales, an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney will always consider the defense of entrapment. In many cases it is a strong and effective defense. Whether it will apply in a case will depend on the specific facts of the case and the background of the person. Consult an attorney for a full analysis of your case to determine which defense is the best argument.