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What does entrapment mean in a North Carolina case?

Many people misunderstand the entrapment defense and how it works in a criminal case in North Carolina. The issue of entrapment often arises when state or federal law enforcement agents conduct an undercover operation. These stings often aim to detect drug trafficking activity but can also happen in a white-collar context to uncover activities such as fraud or bribery.

Getting arrested in the course of a sting operation does not mean law enforcement entrapped you. The law allows police officers significant latitude in their undercover activities. Officers do not have to tell you they are undercover.

Actions of the law enforcement agent

To use this defense effectively, a defendant must show two things: entrapping conduct by the officer and the defendant's lack of predisposition to commit this type of crime. First, he or she must prove law enforcement officers used persuasion, coercion or fraud to get the defendant to commit the crime in question. The defendant must also prove the law enforcement officers came up with the idea of the crime.

Would the defendant have committed the crime without being entrapped

Next, a defendant claiming entrapment argues he or she would not have committed the crime if not for the purposeful acts of law enforcement agents aimed at getting him or her to break the law. Thus, a defendant with a history of similar crimes will likely have a hard time meeting this requirement. On the other hand, simply the existence of a criminal history does not negate entrapment. For example, proving the defendant had a petty larceny conviction based on a shoplifting incident does not mean he or she would have probably tried to buy a shipment of cocaine.

Is entrapment a good defense for your case

In many cases, an entrapment defense may not be the most effective approach. For one thing, it means admitting you actually committed the act in question. However, although this can be a difficult defense to pursue, it may be your best option depending on the circumstances. As with any criminal matter, getting help from a qualified defense attorney can help by finding the right approach for your particular situation.


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  • Client was charged in federal court with the felony offense of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm. After negotiation with the US Attorney's Office, the felony gun charge was dismissed and our client...

  • Our client was charged with statutory rape and faced mandatory registration as a sex offender if convicted. We were able to work with a forensic expert and the district attorney's office to negotiate a guilty plea..

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  • Client investigated by federal law enforcement for possessing child pornography. Ryan began representing the client during the investigation and ultimately the client was not charged with any crimes...

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Super Lawyers Board Certified Specialist | North Carolina State Bar | Federal / State Criminal Law
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