In this section, our attorneys explain Nevada’s criminal laws and legal concepts, A to Z
Drug Crimes » Is it “Entrapment” in Las Vegas if I Sell Drugs to an Undercover Cop?
“I was set up!” is a cry that has been said by many of those who’ve been arrested in a sting or undercover operation conducted by police. If you find yourself saying that after selling drugs in Las Vegas to an undercover police officer, you may be wondering if you can claim “entrapment” as a defense to any criminal charges arising from the deal.
“Entrapment” in Nevada is an affirmative defense to a Nevada criminal charge, which means you have to prove that the police enticed you into committing a crime you otherwise would not have committed. Once you put forth evidence of improper “governmental instigation,” prosecutors bear the burden of proving that you were “predisposed” to commit the crime.
“Governmental instigation” that can constitute the basis of an entrapment defense can include such tactics as harassment, fraud, threats, pressure or flattery that make an individual do something they were otherwise not going to do.
However, in the context of selling drugs to an undercover police officer, it is not improper “instigation” for an officer to approach a suspect and simply ask to purchase drugs, even if they had no reasonable suspicion beforehand that the individual was attempting to sell drugs.
For example, the Nevada Supreme Court upheld the conviction and rejected the entrapment defense asserted by a man in Reno who sold crack cocaine to an undercover officer. Foster v. State, 13 P.3d 61 (Nev. 2000).
In that case, the officer approached the individual and asked him “Got forty?” (referring to $40 worth of crack cocaine). The defendant then gave a bag of crack cocaine to the officer, the officer gave him $40, and the defendant was subsequently arrested. Such conduct by the officer was neither “unreasonable or “overreaching” the Court concluded.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a Las Vegas drug crime, whether in an undercover sting or otherwise, call our experienced Las Vegas drug crime defense attorneys today to discuss your case and explore your options.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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