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Illinois Entrapment Defense: When Police Provoke You to Commit a Crime

Posted on in Criminal Defense

illinois entrapment defense lawyerAccording to Illinois Statutes (720 ILCS 5/7-12), entrapment occurs when an individual commits criminal conduct that “is incited or induced by a public officer or employee, or agent of either, for the purpose of obtaining evidence for the prosecution of that person.” The law is careful to state that entrapment does not occur when “the person was predisposed to commit the offense and the public officer or employee, or agent of either, merely affords to that person the opportunity or facility for committing an offense.” Individuals accused of certain crimes often have questions about what type of officer conduct rises to the level of legal entrapment.

Illinois Entrapment Law

In plain language, entrapment occurs when a public official encourages an individual to commit a crime that the individual would likely not have decided to commit on her own. The public official’s behavior must have been such that it implanted an idea to commit a crime into the alleged offender’s mind. Moreover, if an officer suggests that an individual commit a crime but that individual had already planned to commit that crime anyway, entrapment has not occurred.

In its criminal law context, entrapment is used as an affirmative legal defense. When an individual alleges entrapment, he/she admits that they committed the crime charged, but argues that they should be found not guilty because they did not have the required criminal intent or state of mind to be convicted of the crime, since the idea to commit the crime came due, as a result, of a public official’s suggestion. Entrapment is not a civil charge that can be brought against the public official. This means that one cannot collect a legal judgment by suing a public official for entrapment.

Entrapment Defense in Practice

In practice, the most common situations in which accused individuals allege entrapment is when the individual is cajoled by a police officer into selling illegal drugs, selling stolen property, or engaging in prostitution. The defense of entrapment is only available if a public officer or someone working for a public officer encouraged the defendant to commit the crime. If a private individual encouraged the individual to commit the crime, the entrapment defense is not available.

An Illinois criminal law judge will examine an entrapment defense by looking into the facts of the case. Some points the judge may consider including are whether the defendant has memorabilia in his possession that was related to the crime or if the individual was taking steps to complete a similar crime. For example, if the individual had a drug scale or small bags used to pack individual drugs for resale in his possession prior to officer contact, this evidence may suggest the accused individual had previously formed an intent to commit the charged crime of selling drugs.

A Criminal Law Attorney Can Help

The experienced criminal defense law firm, Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C., is skilled in using affirmative defenses such as the entrapment defense to convince juries to acquit defendants or reduce the legal penalty. If you or someone close to you was accused of committing a crime and believe you were unfairly coerced into committing the crime, contact our DuPage County criminal defense lawyers at 630-472-9700 to discuss your options.

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