What is the Entrapment Defense to a Drug Charge in Florida?

Criminal defense lawyers do not often assert the entrapment defense in criminal cases, particularly drug cases, because it does not apply in most cases. However, there are cases where the entrapment defense is a valid defense when a person is charged with a drug crime in Florida.

For instance, in a recent case, a defendant was charged with trafficking in cocaine after he set up a drug deal between a cocaine supplier and a buyer who turned out to be a confidential informant (CI) for the police. His criminal defense lawyer argued that the defendant was entrapped into committing the trafficking crime. The defendant testified that he was addicted to cocaine and also used other illegal drugs, such as marijuana and heroin. He could not afford his drug habit and needed a way to make some money. The CI approached him and asked him if he could arrange a deal for a large amount of cocaine. Several times, the defendant told the CI that he was not interested. However, the CI persisted and finally offered the defendant some of the cocaine if he would arrange the drug deal. The defendant agreed and was arrested by police for trafficking in cocaine right before the deal was done.

The standard for entrapment in Florida is as follows: it is not entrapment when the police intend to disrupt ongoing criminal activity and use reasonable means to do so. Alternatively, if the police are going out of their way to take advantage of someone who is not otherwise involved in drug trafficking or a related drug crime, and they use unreasonable methods to do it, the defense of entrapment can work. However, if the state can show that the defendant is predisposed to commit the drug crime, i.e. he/she has sold or been involved with illegal drugs before or was familiar with how drug deals work and the terminology, the entrapment defense is problematic, unless the defendant can show that the police’s conduct was particularly outrageous.

Criminal defense lawyers do not often use the entrapment defense in drug cases. However, the law does allow it, and there are circumstances where it may be applicable. If it is successful, the drug charges will be dismissed.

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