Unfortunately, in many states, law enforcement officers are under no obligation to inform you that they are police officers, even if you come straight out and ask. Entrapment is not a defense just because you were unaware that the officer involved was in fact an officer. Entrapment can be pretty tricky and to avoid these issues, the smartest thing for anyone to do is avoid breaking the law at all. It is understandable that sometimes it cannot be avoided, but if it can be, avoid it.
Many people believe that if a police officer does not share that they are law enforcement and they encourage you to break the law this is entrapment. Incorrect. No one can actually trick you into committing a crime, it is almost always a decision of your own. Not knowing that someone was a police officer does not make you innocent. A scenario that many people confuse with entrapment would be
You and your friends are out at a party. You step outside for some fresh air and are approached by an individual that asks if you have any illegal drugs on you. You hesitate for a while then you ask “you’re not a cop, are you?”. The person responds they are not. You then mention that you do have drugs in your car. The individual then follows you to your car, You open your car trunk and proceed to sell the individual illegal drugs. That person then places you under arrest.
Many people believe that because the officer somehow partook in the illegal activity and was not honest about being a copm that they were tricked. When in fact, them claiming to not be a cop is the only reason you continued the sale. The cop in this scenario did not do anything wrong. Now, using that same scenario, let’s say you stepped outside for fresh air and you were approached by an individual. This individual asks you, “do you want any drugs?”. You decline several times and he or she asks once more so you say, “yeah, sure. Whatever”. You can still be found guilty for participating in criminal activity, however, in this example you can likely use entrapment as a defense. Seeing as how the officer coerced you into purchasing the illegal substance and created the opportunity for a crime to be committed, this can be used against them. No matter if the person involved is a cop or not, you should participate in criminal activity if you do not want to face consequences for it. If you or a loved one has committed a crime and believes there was some sort of entrapment on the police officers behalf, speak with a criminal defense attorney in Atlanta, GA as soon as possible, there may be a reasonable defense available to you.
Thanks to Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into criminal defense and entrapment.