What is the Difference Between a Sting Operation and Entrapment in NYC?

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What is the Difference Between a Sting Operation and Entrapment in NYC?


Entrapment is a defense that we can use in some criminal cases. New York Penal Code 40.05 says it is against the law for law enforcement officers and public servants to commit entrapment. 


By contrast, a sting is a completely legal way for law enforcement to try to catch criminals. And on the surface, a sting does not look that much different from entrapment.


Both are often used in drug and prostitution cases, as well as in firearms cases


What is the difference?


The difference is the target.


In a legal sting operation, police target someone who is already predisposed to commit a certain crime. They have reason to believe that the person commits the crime on a regular basis, but may not yet have enough evidence to make an arrest or to charge the defendant with any crime that might “stick.”


They set up an opportunity for the person to commit that crime again, and make the arrest once the individual shows an uncoerced interest in committing the crime. They don’t have to wait for the crime to actually move forward.


The activity becomes entrapment when the police induce someone to commit a crime who would never have done so in the first place if the police had left that person alone. The method they use could include persuasion, threats, harassment, or fraud. The target is often either someone who has cognitive issues or someone who is vulnerable due to being under extreme stress. 


How We Use the Entrapment Defense


The entrapment defense can really only be used once your criminal case goes to trial. It’s not something we can use to get a case dropped or dismissed, and it doesn’t do us a lot of good in pre-trial motions. It’s also not the strongest defense we can possibly use, as there is often a fine line between “disposed” to commit a crime and “indisposed.”


Nevertheless, if it is the best defense to use in your case you can bet that we’ll bring every scrap of evidence to bear in order to make it happen. 


Every case is different. If you or a loved one is in trouble, reach out to our office to schedule a case review. We will do everything in our power to help you bring your case to its strongest possible outcome.

See also:

New York Prostitution Lawyer

How Long Does a Criminal Case Take in New York? 

What is a No Contest Plea Deal in New York? 


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