The penalties associated with a white-collar crime conviction can be extensive, threatening to throw you behind bars for years. If you’re afraid of what your pending criminal case might do to your freedom and your future, you need to figure out the best way to defend yourself.
Although you might have a lot of options, depending on the facts of your case, there’s one defense strategy that’s often overlooked. We want to examine it here so that you can determine if it’s a possible defense avenue for you. If you think that it might be, you may want to consider discussing it with a criminal defense attorney of your choosing.
How entrapment can lead to white collar-crime allegations
Law enforcement is so eager to obtain convictions in white-collar crime cases that they often overstep their bounds. This can result in entrapment, where a member of law enforcement, or someone acting under their direction or on their behalf, entices you to commit a crime that you wouldn’t have committed if it hadn’t been for that inducement.
For example, an undercover officer might approach you with an idea about how to defraud your employer. Without that information, you might’ve avoided criminal activity, but law enforcement essentially tricked you into criminal activity. This could be considered entrapment.
How you can raise entrapment as a defense
There are two main aspects of an entrapment defense. First, you have to show that law enforcement enticed you to commit a crime. Second, you have to demonstrate that the police’s action created a substantial risk that you’d commit a criminal offense that you otherwise wouldn’t be predisposed to commit.
So, how do you address these two prongs of your defense? Here are some things that you might want to consider as you start preparing your case:
- What the police said: If you feel like you were tricked into committing a crime only to find out that the main driving force behind your criminal activity was a law enforcement officer or confidential informant, you might’ve been subjected to entrapment. But you’ll be in a stronger position to convince a jury of that if you can show that what the police or its agents said to you created a criminal opportunity that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
- The history of your behavior: Your criminal history, or lack thereof, can be key in your defense when looking at the second element of an entrapment defense. So, if you’ve got a clean history, you’ll want to figure out how to use that to your advantage in light of how the police set you up to engage in illegal activity.
- Law enforcement’s motivation: Entrapment often occurs when the police are bending over backward to try to gather enough evidence against you to support criminal charges. Therefore, if you were under investigation as part of a larger criminal scheme, you might find it more likely that the police took a few steps too many to try to gather the evidence that they want against you.
Don’t let inappropriate police actions lead to your conviction
Even though the police are held in high esteem, they frequently make mistakes that threaten everyday people like you with criminal conviction and incarceration. If you want to avoid your rights from being trampled and give yourself the best possible chance of beating the prosecution, you might want to have a strong criminal defense attorney on your side who can help you argue for the outcome that you want.