Understanding Entrapment in Pennsylvania DUI Cases

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
December 18, 2023

entrapment in pennsylvania dui casesWhen accused of a crime, one of the most common defense strategies that defendants use to fight charges is what’s called “entrapment.” Put simply, entrapment occurs when police officers illegally present an individual with the opportunity to execute a crime, pressure them to commit that crime, and then immediately arrest them. While police are fully authorized to lie or use deceptive techniques to obtain evidence of a criminal act, they can’t use extreme behavior, threats, or coercion to force an individual to commit a criminal act. 

Although entrapment isn’t a defense commonly asserted in DUI cases, that doesn’t mean it’s not viable. In some instances, police officers have been known to deceive motorists into driving under the influence. If you think this legal defense may be plausible in your DUI case, it’s essential to understand what constitutes entrapment, the exceptions to the rule, and how this might apply to your case. If you think your rights have been infringed, contact a Montgomery County criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

What is Entrapment?

Entrapment is a defense strategy in Pennsylvania used by criminal defense attorneys, usually at trial or during plea bargain negotiations. Entrapment is established if the defendant engaged in criminal conduct after being persuaded or encouraged to do so by law enforcement trying to obtain evidence against them. In simpler terms, entrapment occurs when a government agent illegally persuades or influences you to commit a crime you otherwise wouldn’t have committed.

Entrapment is most common in cases involving drug possession or the sale of a controlled substance, but it may also be viable after an arrest for DUI. For instance, imagine you’re leaving a bar under the influence of alcohol, but you have no intention of driving. A waiting police officer, who’s looking to trick you into performing an unlawful act, orders you to move your vehicle to a different parking spot. As soon as you get behind the wheel, the officer immediately arrests you for DUI. 

Entrapment is a topic that law enforcement doesn’t like to discuss as it implies police corruption. However, there have been instances of police officers attempting to trap drivers in precisely this way to achieve a conviction.

Where Entrapment Doesn’t Apply to a Pennsylvania DUI Case

In many cases, defendants believe that the police used entrapment tactics during their arrest, when in reality, law enforcement was utilizing completely legal techniques. For instance, you may think that DUI checkpoints constitute entrapment as they’re a sneaky way of catching those driving under the influence. However, DUI checkpoints don’t induce a normally law-abiding citizen to suddenly drive while intoxicated. Rather, they check to see if drivers are operating their vehicles under the legal blood alcohol concentration. 

Similarly, many defendants believe that a police officer who waits outside of a bar or restaurant to catch those driving under the influence is using entrapment. However, in this scenario, the police officer hasn’t forced the person to drink. Therefore, this technique isn’t considered entrapment under the law. Entrapment means causing individuals to commit criminal acts they usually wouldn’t have committed if not for the police officer’s trickery, fraud, or persuasion.

It’s also crucial to note that while the burden is on the prosecution to determine beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual committed a specific crime, the burden is on the defense to put forth the entrapment argument. This is similar to a self-defense argument in the case of violent crimes such as aggravated assault or murder. Your lawyer may be able to help you determine if entrapment is a viable defense strategy based on the circumstances of your case.

Contact an Experienced Entrapment Defense Lawyer in Montgomery County

Do you suspect the police set you up for an arrest? If you believe law enforcement illegally detained you using the entrapment technique, you may have the right to fight back against this charge. That’s where the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford come in. Our highly trusted and well-versed legal team is dedicated to fighting for your rights and protecting your interests throughout the legal process. 

For more than 65 years, the attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford have been serving clients’ legal needs in Montgomery County, Bucks County, Lehigh County, Chester County, Delaware County, and throughout the surrounding areas. We’ve earned the trust and respect of clients facing a wide range of legal problems. Give us a call at (215) 822-7575 or complete our online contact form today.

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
Pennsylvania Attorney's
December 18, 2023
Established in 1952 by Irwin S. Rubin, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. boasts over 65 years of experience serving clients throughout Pennsylvania. Renowned for its commitment to ethical representation, the firm has garnered prestigious accolades, including being named the "Best Law Firm" for its outstanding legal defense work by U.S. News & World Report. Their team of seasoned attorneys, recognized as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, brings unparalleled expertise to a wide range of legal matters, ensuring exceptional representation for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations.