Entrapment is a term many have heard before but few know the true meaning of the word in the legal world.
According to Griesemer v. State, “the government may use undercover agents to enforce the law.” Griesemer v. State, 26 N.E.3d 606 (Ind. 2015). Effectively, when a police officer acts in such a way that induces another to commit a crime they would not otherwise have committed, that is entrapment.
Entrapment as a Defense
Generally, entrapment is used as a defense, and it is the state’s burden to prove entrapment did not occur. In fact, entrapment,
“(a) … is a defense that:
(1) the prohibited conduct of the person was the product of a law enforcement officer, or his agent, using persuasion or other means likely to cause the person to engage in the conduct; and
(2) the person was not predisposed to commit the offense.
(b) Conduct merely affording a person an opportunity to commit the offense does not constitute entrapment.” IC § 35-41-3-9 (Burns, Lexis Advance through the end of the Second Regular Session of the 120th General Assembly).
Essentially, this means if an undercover officer offers to purchase drugs from you, and you were already planning to sell drugs to the next person who contacted you, that is not entrapment.
In order to constitute entrapment, you must not have already been planning to commit the crime. If you were, using entrapment as a defense will fail.
Why is there an Entrapment Law?
The goal of this law is to protect citizens from being convicted of crimes they would not have otherwise committed but for the inducement of the action by a law enforcement officer. The central point of this law is to be certain law enforcement agents are working within their scope when arresting individuals while undercover.