Should you face charges in South Carolina of allegedly committing a crime, you and your attorney may be able to use the entrapment defense. If you have never heard of entrapment, LawShelf.com explains that this term applies when a law enforcement officer or someone working for him or her talks you into committing a crime that you otherwise would not commit.

Be aware that the only people who can entrap you are government officials or their surrogates. A private individual cannot entrap you.

Lack of predilection

The other qualification for you to raise entrapment as a defense is that you and your attorney can prove in court that you had no prior inclination or predilection to commit the crime on your own and would not have committed it had it not been for the law enforcement official’s entrapment.

Use this example to understand how you may be able to prove that you had no prior intent to commit the crime with which you are charged. Someone offers you the opportunity to commit a crime, especially a victimless crime such as buying illicit drugs. You tell the person no, you are not interested in buying what (s)he is offering to sell you. Nevertheless, (s)he persists with the offer and asks you several times to reconsider your initial refusal. Finally, you buy the drugs, and (s)he turns out to be an undercover officer who then arrests you.

Burden of proof

Under circumstances such as those set out above, you have met your burden of proof that you had no inclination to buy illicit drugs and would not have done so had the undercover officer not badgered you into it. Now the burden of proof shifts to the prosecutor.

In order to convict you, (s)he must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the undercover officer did not entrap you. Needless to say, proving a negative is difficult at best. How can (s)he prove that you did in fact have a predisposition to buy illegal drugs when you just proved that you did not? In all likelihood she will fail in his or her attempt and the jury will acquit you.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.