Difference Between Entrapment & Sting Operations
Legal & Illegal Ways to Incriminate Suspects
The sad reality behind many crimes is that they were influenced by another party in some way. The “other party” often includes undercover law enforcement officers. When the police suspect someone of a crime but do not have enough evidence to charge them, they may resort to sting operations, which commonly get confused with entrapment.
Entrapment is illegal, while sting operations are legal. That’s why entrapment is a legal defense to criminal charges but can only be applied in certain cases. By definition, entrapment prohibits government agents from:
- Originating a criminal design
- Implanting the disposition to commit a crime in an innocent person’s mind
- Inducing the commission of a crime so that the government can prosecute someone
Contrary to popular belief, entrapment is not the same as a sting operation. Remember, sting operations are legal and focus on tempting suspects into committing crimes. The frightening part of sting operations is that they allow undercover cops to lie and deceive. As such, let’s review the four basic elements of sting operations outlined by the COPS Office of the US department of Justice.
Sting operations involve:
- An opportunity or enticement to commit a crime, either created or exploited by police
- A targeted likely offender or group of offenders for a particular crime type
- An undercover or hidden police officer or surrogate, or some form of deception
- A “gotcha” climax when the operation ends with arrests
Sting operations are legal ways to get a suspect to break the law. This is a highly-controversial topic due to their influential role in incriminating suspects, however, sting operations remain legal and likely won’t change. They are often employed to “catch” offender,s including:
- White collar offenders
- Drug offenders
- Internet sex offenders
- Theft offenders
Were You Caught Up in a Sting Operation?
Our Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys at The Clark Law Firm take a strong stance against the practice of sting operations. Although they are legal, that doesn’t mean they’re right. Therefore, we urge you to reach out to us online or by calling (817) 435-4970 if you ended up on the wrong side of the law, regardless of how it happened.
You are innocent until proven guilty. Let us fight to maintain your innocence!