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Sex Crimes, Entrapment and Your Rights in Texas

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Police officers often use “sting” operations to make arrests. These operations sometimes consist of undercover officers who “set up” individuals by providing them with an opportunity to commit illegal acts. When those arrests are for sex offenses, it’s important to ensure entrapment hasn’t taken place; otherwise, the charges are invalid. It’s essential that anyone arrested for a sex crime knows what entrapment is and how to defend against it.

Texas Definition of Entrapment

Entrapment is spelled out in Section 8.06 of the Texas Penal Code as happening whenever “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.” The law specifically states that providing an opportunity to commit a crime does not constitute entrapment. In other words, entrapment occurs whenever an individual is enticed to perform an act that he or she otherwise would not have committed.

Common Examples

In sex offense cases, entrapment can occur in a number of ways. For example, a minor could pose as an adult in an Internet chat room and solicit another adult for sex. If the accused was unaware that he or she was talking with a minor, no charges could be brought. Entrapment could also occur if an individual was coaxed or encouraged to solicit a prostitute. In that instance, Texas courts could rule that the defendant acted under pressure, and would not likely have performed an act otherwise.

Objective Test

Texas courts use what is known as an objective test to determine whether or not entrapment took place. The objective standard requires the defendant to prove that law enforcement officers acted in such a way that any law-abiding person would have reacted in the same way. Some types of police conduct that could result in the objective test being met are:

  • Offering large sums of money in exchange for sex acts
  • Using extreme pity to elicit a response
  • Exploiting a close personal relationship
  • Causing a person to become involuntarily intoxicated
  • Making threats of violence against an individual or his or her family members
  • Extortion

Burden of Proof

Texas law requires the objective standard to be met by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This is a lesser burden of proof than “beyond a reasonable doubt”, and requires only that the defendant show it was more likely than not entrapment occurred. Although the objective test has a lower burden of proof, it is nonetheless difficult to prove, as Texas law enforcement officers have wide leeway when it comes to investigations. As such, an individual must generally show that officers acted in an extreme manner that was not usual and customary.

Recommended Actions

Individuals who are victims of entrapment should take certain actions to ensure the best possible outcome in their particular case. A few of the things they should do include:

  • Not talking with about the matter with police, friends and family members, the media or the actual victim
  • Avoiding all contact with the victim or anyone associated with that person, even if the victim and defendant previously had a close relationship
  • Following all “no contact” orders to the letter
  • Abstaining from behaviors such as viewing porn

Individuals should also write down as much information about the alleged incident as possible. This should ideally be done while the information is fresh in their mind, since knowing the details will help an attorney tremendously in performing an investigation of the matter.

Contact an Attorney

Those who were entrapped into committing a sex offense face more difficulty than others when it comes to proving it. Judges have a tendency to overlook police misconduct when sex offenses are involved, because they fear a public outcry will ensure if a perpetrator “gets off.”

To preserve your rights and ensure the best possible odds of success, you should contact an attorney Brett Podolsky at 713.227.0087 or email info@brettpodolsky.com as soon as possible to preserve your freedom.

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