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Entrapment vs. undercover work

Undercover officers will often pretend that they are not affiliated with the police and they may participate in illegal actions while making a bust. In some cases, this even means that they help other criminals commit these acts directly.

Those who get arrested by undercover officers will sometimes claim that they are actually victims of entrapment. Entrapment is a type of legal protection that you have, meaning that the police can’t coerce you in committing a crime just so they can arrest you. But what is the difference between that and undercover work?

Here’s what you should know:

Crimes that would not have been committed

The big difference here is that entrapment happens when the police officer causes a crime to happen but it would not have happened without their action. They’re not just participating. They’re causing this to occur in the first place.

For instance, say that an undercover officer joins a group that is illegally selling drugs on the streets. He or she may participate in this, but the sales were already happening before the officer arrived. If they make an arrest based on what they witnessed, it is not entrapment.

However, if a police officer approaches someone who does not have any illegal drugs and offers to provide them with these substances if they will sell them for a profit, and then the person agrees to make the sale, that could be entrapment. This person never intended to become a drug dealer but was convinced to do it by the police – specifically so that the police could then arrest them for doing what they had just been convinced to do.

If you believe that your rights have been violated during an arrest, then you may need to know what legal options you have.