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Employing entrapment to defend against federal drug charges

It all boils down to this: you may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. As a kid, indiscretions may have led you to form relationships with unsavory individuals. While you may consider those interactions to be anchored firmly in the past, it's possible that others still mark you as vulnerable due to those associations.

Unfortunately, those who have ties with objectionable people are often targeted by police who are looking for leverage against criminals. Pressured by the police, you may have been unduly encouraged to engage in unlawful activities in exchange for favors of some sort. Rather than being rewarded, however, the end result of your acting with police encouragement could be the accusation of participating in a serious crime rather than a commendation for supporting a law enforcement operation.

You know you are innocent. The evidence suggests otherwise. So what can you do? It's possible you may have been the victim of police entrapment. Using knowledge and support, you can build your defense against untrue accusations.

What is entrapment?

Entrapment occurs when law enforcement or its agent encourages an individual to participate in an illegal action, persuading that individual to do something she would not have done without such inducement. Each state has different interpretations of "entrapment," and Missouri has a revised statue that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. According to Missouri law, entrapment occurs when an individual has been coerced into committing a crime she would have not contemplated without the officer's goading. This means that although you may have participated in an illegal activity, initially you had no intention of involving yourself in such behavior.

How can entrapment be employed for your defense?

If you feel that you have been forced to engage in illicit activities that later result in charges being brought up against you, you can employ entrapment in your defense. In order to utilize this argument effectively, you must show the following:

1. You were excessively coerced; and

2. You initially had to intention to participate in the criminal action.

It is also helpful if you can show that any law-abiding citizen would have engaged in the activities that led to the commission of the crime and that your past does not predispose you to such prohibited deeds. Successfully establishing such a defense can be tricky, so you should look to legal advisors for advice.

In the past, you may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but your previous activities should not impact your future freedoms.

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