When the police conduct an undercover sting operation to catch and arrest
people soliciting prostitutes for sexual favors and acts, it always raises
a red flag to criminal defense attorneys. Unless law enforcement officers
and detectives are completely careful – and oftentimes they are
not – the illegal act of entrapment might be the only reason why
they can make an arrest for solicitation.
In basic terms, entrapment is the act of a police officer or law enforcement
agent using some sort of coercion, encouragement, or intimidation to make
someone else commit a crime. Entrapment is common in prostitution stings
since the undercover agents posing as prostitutes need to interact directly
with potential “Johns,” or someone who hires a prostitute
illegally. The undercover agent – who is most commonly a female
– might propose to a passerby that hiring her would lead to a “good
time” or “relieve stress.” These simple statements are
not so innocent, as it can be reasonably argued that they are coercive
Presenting Opportunity Is Not Entrapment
If law enforcement agents want to stay within their own legal boundaries
during a prostitution sting, they must only create the opportunity to
solicit. Creating the opportunity to commit a crime and putting it before
someone is not entrapment since, feasibly, we are all constantly surrounded
by opportunities to break the law. The classic example of opportunity,
not entrapment, is the police leaving a multi-thousand dollar bicycle
unchained and on the street; anyone who attempts to ride off on it has
committed theft without being entrapped, since no agent directly interacted
with and encouraged the crime.
In a prostitution sting, opportunity is created by putting an undercover
agent on the street and instructing her to smile at and politely converse
with passersby, but nothing more. It is not illegal for her to strike
up friendly conversation, or even say that she is looking for a “party.”
If the targeted suspect is the first person to actually offer payment
for a favor, it is likely not entrapment.
Understanding Your Rights in the Gray Area of Entrapment
Many solicitation arrests immediately raise the question of whether or
not entrapment has occurred, and it most usually ends as a heated battle
between prosecutors and the defendant. Due to the unclear legal gray area
entrapment creates, many cases could go either way, depending on the judge’s
discretion or how well each side presented an argument. Retaining a trusted
criminal defender is crucial.
Need a highly experienced, highly rated Riverside criminal defense attorney
after you were arrested for solicitation? Look no further than Blumenthal
Law Offices. Our legal team knows all the tricks and strategies your opposition
will try to use to excuse the entrapment as mere opportunity, which gives
you an insightful, unexpected advantage.
Call or email our law office today to request a case analysis.