The Difference Between Police Entrapment And Lies

Do police officers have to admit to being police officers if you ask them? Is it entrapment if they lie? In short: no. However, there are certain police tactics that do amount to entrapment, and if you've been the victim of them it could lead to the eventual dismissal of your case. This is what you should know about the difference between entrapment and lies.

The Police Are Allowed To Lie To You 

Just to be clear: the police are allowed to lie to you about anything. They don't have to admit to being police officers if you ask them before you sell them drugs or try to pick one up thinking she's a prostitute. They can also lie to you during interrogation, and tell you that your best friend is in the next room, telling them all about the robbery the two of you committed. They can throw a blank video down on the table in front of you and tell you that your face is on it, or show you what they say is a report that matches your DNA to some DNA from whatever crime scene is involved.

They can also lie to you about getting you a deal, talking to the prosecutor about a lenient sentence, or allowing you to go home if you confess and agree to testify against your cohorts. 

All of this is lying, but none of this is entrapment. 

Entrapment Takes More Than Simple Encouragement

A police officer can open the proverbial door for you to commit a crime, and even encourage you to do it, so long as he or she doesn't cross a very narrow line. Entrapment only occurs when: 

  • police officers persuade you to commit a crime
  • and you wouldn't have committed the crime otherwise

In order to show entrapment, you have to be able to show that you wouldn't normally have committed the crime, except for the coercive police tactics. 

For example, imagine that you have a personal stash of marijuana that you use for anxiety. Medical marijuana is legal in your state, but you have to have a prescription. An undercover officer keeps stopping by your apartment, every night, asking you to sell him some of your marijuana. He claims that he also has anxiety, but doesn't have insurance and can't get a medical marijuana card. 

If you have some sympathy for him and sell him some, you'll end up arrested on drug charges. The question then becomes whether or not you were the victim of entrapment. The officer gave you the opportunity to commit the crime, but were his actions coercive? 

Your defense, in this situation, is that you wouldn't have committed a crime if the officer hadn't played on your sympathies over and over again, essentially badgering you into the offense, and that equals entrapment.

If you feel that you've been the victim of police entrapment, discuss it with your attorney. Because the exact laws vary from state to state, and each situation is unique, your attorney will be best able to advise you as to whether or not an entrapment defense is possible. To find more information, speak with a company like Davidson Law Center Inc.