According to the New York Times, the federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least forty agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters, and even doctors or ministers. At the Supreme Court, small teams of undercover officers dress as students at large demonstrations outside the courthouse to look for suspicious activity. At the Internal Revenue Service, dozens of agents chase alleged tax evaders by posing as tax preparers, accountants, drug dealers, or even as yacht buyers. And at the Agriculture Department, more than 100 undercover agents pose as food stamp recipients in thousands of neighborhood stores to spot suspicious activity and fraud. If you’re charged with a crime in the New York City area on the basis of an undercover investigation, get legal representation immediately and consult an experienced Queens criminal defense lawyer.

Everyone has heard of entrapment, and we know that the police aren’t allowed to “entrap” suspects. The popular conception is that entrapment happens if a police officer sells you illegal drugs and then busts you for possessing them, or if a police officer poises as a prostitute, suggests a transaction, and then arrests you for agreeing to the transaction. The truth is, these examples may or may not be entrapment – we would have to know more details. If you are charged with a crime in Queens or in New York City, and if you believe that you’ve been a target of entrapment, contact an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney at once.

Entrapment legally depends on a number of complicated factors. If you offer entrapment as your defense, unlike with most other defenses, you’ll have to prove that you were entrapped. This means admitting that you committed the crime you are charged with but explaining that the only reason you did it is because you were tricked by the police. Entrapment is not easy to prove, and if you’re charged with a crime in New York, your defense attorney may suggest a different defense strategy. If entrapment is your defense, New York requires you to prove that:

  • you were “induced or encouraged” to commit the crime by a public servant (or someone working with a public servant) who was seeking to obtain evidence against you for a criminal prosecution
  • the methods used to obtain that evidence caused you to commit a crime that you were not otherwise disposed to commit

The key phrase in the law is “a crime that you were not otherwise disposed to commit.” This is why it is so difficult to win an acquittal by using the entrapment defense. The people targeted by the police are the people who are probably going to break the law anyway. The police understand the rules of entrapment and are trained not to cross the line. You may “feel” that you’ve been entrapped, but to use entrapment as a defense, you must prove that you were entrapped according to the precise legal definition of entrapment in New York. If you’re charged with a crime in the five boroughs or anywhere on Long Island, you should obtain legal help immediately by contacting an experienced Queens criminal defense attorney.