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The Defense of Entrapment in Illinois

December 17th, 2013 at 8:20 am

Some criminal defendants find themselves charged with a crime as the result of police “encouragement,” which may involve an undercover officer or confidential informant interacting with the defendant in the commission of the crime. When a defendant in this situation discovers the extent of the circumstances surrounding his or her arrest, there are usually serious concerns and questions that arise almost immediately concerning the legality of the police conduct.  Illinois law provides guidance on this issue.

entrapmentThe law in Illinois provides for the affirmative defense of entrapment, which is meant to provide protection against law enforcement’s use of aggressive or reprehensible tactics in inducing criminal conduct. According to the relevant statute, a person is not guilty of a criminal offense if his or her conduct is incited or induced by the police or their agent for the purpose of obtaining evidence against them. See 720 ILCS 5/7-12.  However, this defense is not available if the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime and law enforcement’s actions merely afforded the defendant the opportunity or ability to commit the offense. Typically, the defense of entrapment is relevant in “vice” crimes, such as prostitution or drug deals, since these crimes are committed privately with willing victims who will not otherwise report the crime, which makes normal detection exceedingly difficult.

It is the defendant’s burden to raise the defense of entrapment and prove it to the necessary degree in order to be successful in getting the charges dismissed by the court.  Essentially, in raising the affirmative defense of entrapment, the defendant is admitting to the crime, but arguing to the court that the reason they did so was because law enforcement induced them into committing the illegal act.  On the other hand, if the government suggests the defense should not apply due to defendant’s predisposition, they must prove the same beyond a reasonable doubt in order to overcome the affirmative defense of entrapment. In order to prove disposition, the government may attempt to introduce evidence such as prior convictions or prior conduct, readiness of acceptance, admissions made by the defendant, and evidence as to the defendant’s reputation.

Properly and successfully arguing the defense of entrapment requires thorough legal knowledge and skill. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in connection with government involvement, speaking with an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney about the facts of your case is critical. We can provide expert guidance in the defense of your charges, and advise you of and protect your rights while fighting for your best interests. Contact us today for a consultation.

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Written by Staff Writer

December 17th, 2013 at 8:20 am

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