What is Entrapment in Florida?

If you are facing criminal charges and believe you have been tricked or coerced into doing something illegal, it may be entrapment. What is entrapment?

Entrapment is an affirmative defense that can be utilized in certain criminal cases. But entrapment law in Florida is complicated. Depending on the situation, you may or may not qualify for an entrapment defense. When considering possibilities for your defense after you have been arrested, it is necessary to understand the complexity of the question, “What is entrapment?”

What is Considered Entrapment in Florida?

What is police entrapment?

Entrapment, according to Florida Statute § 777.201(1), is when a law enforcement officer, an individual who is cooperating with law enforcement, or an individual acting as an agent of law enforcement, improperly encourages or induces someone to commit a crime that they would, under normal circumstances, have not committed.

There are two types of police entrapment in Florida:

  1. Subjective entrapment — the focus of subjective entrapment is to determine if the defendant was predisposed to commit the offense prior to the criminal act that instigated the arrest. This type of entrapment is utilized as a defense when the conduct of law enforcement (or cooperating individual/agent) is not so egregious as to violate due process laws.
  2. Objective entrapment — the focus of objective entrapment is to determine whether the law enforcement officer, cooperating individual, or agent caused the defendant to commit the offense due to their egregious actions.

When considering the answer to “What is entrapment?” it is prudent to know that the entrapment defense does not apply if you were willing or ready to commit the crime on your own without the encouragement or inducement of law enforcement.

Is Entrapment Illegal in Florida?

It is not uncommon for law enforcement officers to go undercover to infiltrate a crime ring or other types of criminal activity. This, in and of itself, is not illegal. The problem arises when either inexperienced or overzealous law enforcement officers (or their cooperating individuals or agents) go beyond legal methods and take actions to convince the defendant to commit the offense. This can also include the actions of confidential informants.

So, yes. If the actions of law enforcement and/or their cooperators/agents rise to the level of what is considered entrapment by Florida Statute § 777.201, it would be illegal.

Examples of Entrapment

For further clarification, we would like to provide you with a couple of examples of entrapment.

Example #1: An individual takes walks in a city park on the weekends. A confidential informant for an undercover police officer approaches the individual at the park to convince them to do a favor or a job for them. The informant tells the individual in exchange for taking a package to a pawn shop and bringing back the money, they will then receive a percentage of those funds. Unbeknownst to the individual, the package contained illegal drugs.

Example #2: An employer suspects an employee of committing white-collar crimes such as embezzlement or fraud. They contact the police. An undercover agent then communicates with the employee and then induces them to commit an act of fraud.

Other criminal offenses that may be cases of entrapment can include prostitution, illegal gambling, and various online or computer crimes, such as internet blackmail, online theft, and forgery using a computer.

Entrapment Defense

Entrapment defense in the State of Florida is intended to curtail the actions of law enforcement that seek to “make” criminals rather than to find the ones that already have criminal intent. Everyone has the right to a defense under entrapment law in Florida.

In order to prove entrapment, there are various elements that may be utilized to present a preponderance of the evidence that shows the culpability of law enforcement. Each case is different, so your attorney will thoroughly investigate the case to determine the best strategy for your entrapment defense.

Here are some of the strategies your attorney has at their disposal:

  • Show that law enforcement encouraged you to commit a crime for the purpose of obtaining evidence for the commission of a crime.
  • Show that law enforcement utilized persuasion, enticement, or inducement to convince you to commit the crime — even though you were not predisposed to criminal activity
  • Show that an informant, special agent, or other agent acting as law enforcement was the person that convinced you to break the law.
  • Show that your actions were specifically caused by the encouragement, cajoling, or insistence of a law enforcement professional — including fraud, flattery, threats, and harassment.

Florida follows the test of subjective entrapment, so the burden of proof is on the defense. An entrapment defense basically comes down to two areas: (1) you were not predisposed to or did not intend to commit the offense, and (2) the egregious tactics or methods of law enforcement.

Even if you have a criminal record, that does not mean that you cannot prove a case of entrapment. It is not hopeless. Although a criminal record is admissible to a certain extent, the prosecution does have certain limitations when using your previous record to attempt to show motivation or a predisposal to commit a crime. Your attorney will carefully investigate, examine, and analyze the details of what occurred to develop the strongest case possible – and advocate for your rights and your freedom.

Contact Golden Key Law Group PLLC to Schedule a Consultation

At Golden Key Law Group PLLC, we aggressively defend our clients. We are experienced and knowledgeable attorneys who understand the complexity of entrapment law in Florida and will fight hard to defend your rights.

If you believe you have been coerced or tricked into committing a crime by law enforcement, a confidential informant, or other agent working in association with law enforcement, contact us as soon as possible. Obtaining legal representation early on is important to ensure your rights are protected. We are with you at every step of the criminal proceedings – from discovery to pre-trial and trial proceedings, if necessary. We work diligently to get the best outcome possible.

Contact us today to set up a consultation.