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Colorado Criminal Defense Blog

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Drug-related offenses are taken seriously in Denver, and law enforcement agencies often employ various tactics to apprehend individuals suspected of involvement in drug crimes. One defense strategy that defendants may use is entrapment, which involves showing that law enforcement officers induced them to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the concept of entrapment in drug crime cases, examine examples of potentially unlawful police tactics, discuss the challenges of proving entrapment, and highlight the importance of retaining an experienced criminal defense lawyer to build a strong defense.

Understanding Entrapment:

Entrapment is a legal defense that asserts a defendant was coerced or induced by law enforcement to commit a crime they were not predisposed to commit. To establish entrapment, the defendant must demonstrate two key elements:

  1. Inducement: The defendant was persuaded or encouraged by law enforcement to engage in criminal behavior.
  2. Lack of Predisposition: The defendant lacked the predisposition or intent to commit the crime before the inducement occurred.

Examples of Unlawful Police Tactics:

While law enforcement officers have the authority to conduct undercover operations and use specific tactics to investigate criminal activity, there are limits to what is considered lawful. Some examples of potentially unlawful police tactics that may constitute entrapment include:

  1. Coercive Pressure: Law enforcement officials use threats, intimidation, or coercion to compel individuals to engage in drug-related activities.
  2. Persistent Solicitation: Officers repeatedly pressure or persuade individuals to participate in illegal drug transactions, even after initial refusals.
  3. Offering Incentives: Law enforcement offers rewards, monetary compensation, or promises of leniency in exchange for involvement in drug-related activities.
  4. Creating Opportunities: Officers actively create opportunities or scenarios that encourage individuals to commit drug crimes, such as leaving drugs or paraphernalia in plain sight to entice unsuspecting individuals.

Challenges in Proving Entrapment:

While entrapment can be a viable defense strategy in drug crime cases, it can be challenging to prove in court. Prosecutors may argue that the defendant was already predisposed to commit the crime, regardless of any inducement by law enforcement. Additionally, demonstrating a lack of predisposition requires careful examination of the defendant’s behavior and history. As such, defendants must present compelling evidence and arguments to support their entrapment defense.

Importance of Legal Representation:

Building a successful defense against drug crime charges, including entrapment claims, requires the expertise of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. A skilled attorney can:

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  1. Assess the Circumstances: Thoroughly review the details of the case, including police tactics, evidence, and witness testimony, to identify potential grounds for an entrapment defense.
  2. Investigate Law Enforcement Conduct: Conduct a comprehensive investigation into law enforcement’s actions leading up to the arrest, looking for any signs of inducement or coercion that may support an entrapment defense.
  3. Develop a Strategic Defense: Craft a strategic defense strategy tailored to the unique circumstances of the case, leveraging legal precedents, case law, and expert testimony to support the entrapment claim.
  4. Advocate in Court: Present a compelling case in court, challenging the prosecution’s evidence and arguments while effectively advocating for the defendant’s rights and interests.

Real-Life Case Studies:

To further illustrate the complexities of entrapment defenses in drug crime cases, let’s examine a few real-life examples:

Case Study 1: Undercover Sting Operation

In this case, law enforcement officers posed as drug dealers and approached individuals in a public setting, offering to sell illegal substances. Despite initial refusals, officers persisted in soliciting the individuals, eventually convincing them to purchase drugs. The defendants argued that they were not predisposed to buy drugs but were coerced by the persistent solicitation of law enforcement.

Case Study 2: Coercive Tactics

In another case, law enforcement officers conducted a raid on a residential property suspected of drug activity. During the raid, officers detained the residents and subjected them to aggressive interrogation tactics, including threats of arrest and prosecution if they did not cooperate.


The defendants claimed that they felt compelled to engage in drug-related activities due to the coercive pressure exerted by law enforcement.

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Unlawful Entrapment:

Entrapment is a legal defense strategy that defendants may use to challenge drug crime charges in Denver and other jurisdictions. By demonstrating that law enforcement induced them to commit the crime and that they lacked predisposition, defendants may be able to secure a favorable outcome in their case. However, proving entrapment requires careful analysis of the circumstances and persuasive argumentation in court. Therefore, it is crucial for individuals facing drug crime charges to seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can provide knowledgeable representation and advocate effectively on their behalf. With skilled legal counsel, defendants can navigate the complexities of the legal system and work towards a positive resolution to their case.



About the Author:

Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019-2022” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2022 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state.  Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020-2022. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.

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