The Law Dictionary

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What Is Entrapment?

Entrapment is a terrible issue, and while the police are expected to serve and protect citizens, some claim police officers have entrapped them. Entrapment may sound simple, but it’s not, and there are also many ways an officer can entrap someone. So in this article, we will be discussing what entrapment law is and more. 

What is Entrapment Law?

Entrapment in law is most easily defined as when one or more law enforcement agents like the police entice someone to commit a crime they wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for the police.  

What is Entrapment Law

How Does it Work?

Entrapment can work in various ways, and a few of those can be through persuasion, sex crimes, harassment, etc. For example, if a law official tries to have sex with an individual unwillingly in exchange for drugs, this is considered entrapment. After the entrapped person has proof that a police officer did this through persuasion, the government has to prove that the individual was persuaded to commit this crime. By doing so, they would do a background check on the person’s criminal history, etc.

How Does entrapment work

Why Do We Have Entrapment Laws? 

Entrapment laws are significant where even if an individual was caught in this situation, the defendant could still prove that they are innocent and show that they had no intention to commit this crime. 

Entrapment Laws

Entrapment in the U.S., Canada, and Australia 

The United States of America, Canada, and Australian entrapment laws vary. As we know, in the USA, entrapment is the police causing someone to commit a crime that they would haven’t have done if it wasn’t for this officer. When it comes to proving that the defendant is truly honest, this is the government’s responsibility; the defendant is not required to prove anything nor admit any evidence. Furthermore, for an entrapment defense to work in the United States, the defendant has to convince the court that they had not inclined to commit such a crime and that the officer’s actions would have provoked anyone to commit this crime. 

In Canada, there are two different types of entrapment law, they are: 

  1. Opportunity based entrapment
  2. Inducement based entrapment

The opportunity-based entrapment occurs when the law official provides someone with the opportunity to commit the crime without suspecting that this individual has already been involved in such criminal activity. 

Inducement-based entrapment occurs when a police officer doesn’t give that individual the opportunity but goes as far as inducing this person to commit the unlawful act. 

Once entrapment is proven in Canada, the defendant can have a stay of proceedings which means that the case held against the defendant cannot proceed, and the criminal offense does not appear on their record. In Australia, however, entrapment has the same meaning: an officer has to induce someone to commit a crime they wouldn’t have committed. Compared to the USA and Canada, there is no legal defense of entrapment in Australia. 

Entrapment in the U.S., Canada, and Australia 

Example of an Entrapment Case 

Various examples of entrapment cases occurred during history, such as Sorrells v. the United States, Sherman v. the United States, the United States v. Russell, etc. We’re going to look at the Sherman v. the United States case. 

In 1951 Joseph Sherman and Charles Calcinian met at a doctor’s office where both were being treated for addiction. Charles Calcinian was a government informant receiving leniency for criminal charges in exchange for convincing others to sell them narcotics then reporting it to government agents, and Joseph Sherman had two narcotics convictions. Both men started talking to each other and spoke about their issues with the addiction. 

After discussing their addiction struggles, Charles Calcinian kept asking Joseph Sherman for help in buying him drugs, and Sherman kept refusing because he was committed to remaining clean. On numerous occasions, Calcinian still kept asking Sherman to buy him the drugs, then eventually, Sherman gave in and got the drugs for himself and Calcinian. 

Later, Calcinian informed government agents, and Sherman was arrested because of observation of him selling narcotics to Calcinian on numerous occasions. Then Sherman when to trial, and there he raised an entrapment defense. 

Example of an entrapment case 

The importance of knowing about this law before making a false confession to police officers or other authorities

Knowing this law is very important because it would help prevent you from getting caught in a situation where any law official can entrap you and prevent you from being criminally charged or even going to jail.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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