How Our Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Use an Entrapment Defense to Fight the Charges You Face 

If you were arrested for committing a crime in Virginia and believe the police set you up to commit a criminal offense, this might be entrapment.  Our experienced Manassas criminal defense lawyer at The Wilson Law Firm can meticulously analyze your case to determine if entrapment applies and aggressively advocate for your rights.

Understanding What the Entrapment Defense Is in Virginia Image of Lady Justice with scales and word entrapment

Entrapment is a defense strategy used in criminal cases where it’s argued that law enforcement officers induced or persuaded the defendant to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed. It’s designed to prevent police misconduct. Common crimes where this defense may be used are drug sale crimes and online solicitation of a minor. 

Entrapment is challenging to prove. Key elements of this defense include: 

  • Police induced you to commit the crime. To assert entrapment, it must be shown that law enforcement officers actively encouraged or induced you, an otherwise innocent person, to engage in criminal activity. 
  • Law enforcement tries to punish you for the crime. The actions of law enforcement must have crossed the line from investigating criminal activity to actually instigating it, with the intent to prosecute you for the offense.
  • You weren’t predisposed to commit the crime. Entrapment hinges on the notion that you weren’t already inclined to commit the crime in question and that it was solely due to law enforcement actions that you did so. 

However, using an entrapment defense strategy will be harder if you have a prior criminal record.  

What Doesn’t Constitute Entrapment in Virginia

While entrapment can be a powerful defense, it’s essential to understand what doesn’t qualify as entrapment under Virginia law: 

  • Opportunity. Simply providing an opportunity to commit a crime doesn’t constitute entrapment. The police must go beyond this and actively induce you to commit the crime.
  • Private party set up. If an individual, without involvement or coordination with law enforcement, sets you up or encourages you to commit a crime, it generally doesn’t qualify as entrapment.

Strong Entrapment Defense: Police Informant Involvement

A solid entrapment defense may arise when a police informant is involved in inducing criminal activity. In such cases, the informant acts as an agent of law enforcement, and their actions may be scrutinized to determine if entrapment occurred. If it can be demonstrated that the informant coerced or manipulated you into committing a crime, it could bolster your entrapment defense significantly. 

Outcome of a Successful Entrapment Defense

If the entrapment defense proves successful in your case, the consequences can be momentous. A finding of entrapment can help suppress vital evidence the prosecution is using against you and may result in the dismissal of your criminal charges. If your lawyer cannot get the charges dropped, they may be able to negotiate a favorable plea bargain where the charges are reduced to a much less severe offense with less serious penalties. 

If you were charged with a crime in Virginia, don’t take the charges lightly—if you’re convicted, there are harsh punishments and long-term consequences of a permanent criminal record. At The Wilson Law Firm, our skilled criminal defense lawyers understand the gravity of your situation and are committed to using all possible defenses to protect your rights and freedom.