In Texas, if you've been arrested for a criminal charge that involves drugs, you know you need help to fight your case. Texas has many strict drug laws which means the State will pursue convictions whenever possible with a drug crime. Whether you've been caught with alleged possession or intent to sell, or one of the many other drug crimes, you'll want to make certain to consider a Board Certified Criminal Defense lawyer who specializes in smart defense strategies against prosecutors.
Doug Murphy represents clients throughout Houston and the greater Houston metropolitan area. He works with individuals who've been charged with drug crimes in surrounding counties, including: Harris, Austin, Colorado, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Madison, Liberty, Walker, and Washington. His 20 years of litigation experience and proven record of going to trial speak to his dedication to supporting his clients in their right to innocence until proven guilty.
When it comes to drug crimes, many defenses might be appropriate. The key is to understand which one, or what combination, will most effectively fight your case. One possible strategy is to argue entrapment for your drug crime. Entrapment is most likely to be an effective defense when the police have abused their power and authority to engage in behavior that could cause an innocent person to choose to engage in illegal behavior.
WHAT IS ENTRAPMENT UNDER TEXAS LAW?
Texas Penal Code § 8.06 defines entrapment as “a defense to prosecution that the actor engaged in the conduct charged because he was induced to do so by a law enforcement agent using persuasion or other means likely to cause persons to commit the offense. Conduct merely affording a person an opportunity to commit an offense does not constitute entrapment.”
Entrapment, then, is a possible legal defense for your drug crime, if the police or law enforcement “induced” you to commit the crime. So the main components are undue pressure from the law enforcement officials, and no predisposition on the part of the defendant.
POLICE UNDERCOVER ACTIVITY
Most people's knowledge of police undercover activity comes from television shows such as Law & Order, Graceland, or Undercover, and it may seem from those shows that all undercover activity is the police inducing someone to commit a crime. However, this belief about undercover activity is not true. In fact, police and other law enforcement officials have a significant amount of leeway when it comes to their undercover drug operations.
They may use false identities and appeal to your emotions based on a formed “friendship.” They can even present you with the opportunity to commit the crime. The key component is whether or not the law enforcement officials in your drug crime case persuaded you to engage in the alleged activity.
WHAT IS THE ARGUMENT FOR ENTRAPMENT?
When using an entrapment defense, there are two key arguments,. The first main argument is that the conduct of the law enforcement officials was such that it would have induced any law-abiding person to commit the drug crime. The second key argument is that their conduct did, in fact, induce the defendant to take action and commit the crime. So, there is a link that occurs between the two arguments. It's not enough to argue for the behavior—it must be shown that it is why you committed the crime.
Entrapment is an important defense strategy because it helps combat police overreach, and we all know how active law enforcement is in Texas. If entrapment occurs, it can lead to an acquittal, which is counterproductive to a sting operation. On a more personal level, for the defendant, entrapment attacks the prosecutor's foundational point that you intended to commit the drug crime. The intent is a significant component of a charge.
HOW WOULD THE DEFENSE OCCUR?
There are two components of how states evaluate an entrapment defense. The first is a “subjective test”. Its focus is on the defendant's state of mind. In Texas, however, the focus is an “objective test” which shines the light on the actions of the law enforcement officials. A Board Certified criminal defense attorney can help you make this case.
WHO HAS THE BURDEN OF PROOF?
This is a trick question, for the burden of proof shifts between the defendant and the prosecutor. If you've been charged with a drug crime, your criminal defense attorney has the burden of production. What does that mean? It means that it's the defense attorney's job to raise entrapment as a possible defense to your drug crime and to provide evidence that supports this defense. Some examples of what your attorney would need to prove in your drug crime hearing are that you:
- Committed the drug crime
- Were induced by the police to take this illegal action
Additionally, your attorney will want to demonstrate that:
- The police utilized coercion or persuasion to induce the drug crime
- An ordinary law-abiding citizen would have most likely been induced to also commit the crime.
Once your criminal defense lawyer proves these things for the jury, the burden of proof shifts to the prosecutor. The prosecutor then has the burden of persuading the jury that you were not entrapped. This proof must be “beyond a reasonable doubt.” One of the more common approaches to persuade the jury of this fact is to attempt to show that you were predisposed to commit the drug crime. It is harder to argue for a predisposition if you lack a criminal record or a history of engaging in similar criminal activity.
HIRING THE BEST DRUG DEFENSE ATTORNEY IN TEXAS
If the police have induced you to commit your drug crime, you want to make sure that you have an experienced and skilled lawyer who is Board Certified in Criminal Defense. Doug Murphy is a trial litigator who understands the implications of your drug crime. Contact us today so we can start fighting for you and your drug crime charges.