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Pennsylvania Court Discusses the Entrapment Defense in DUI Cases

Although entrapment is not a defense commonly asserted in DUI cases, that does not mean it is not viable. A defendant alleging entrapment faces a high burden of proof, however, and the defense is often unsuccessful. This was demonstrated in a recent case ruled on by a Pennsylvania appellate court, in which the court found that a DWI defendant failed to produce evidence sufficient to prove entrapment. If you were recently charged with a DUI crime, it is in your best interest to confer with a knowledgeable Pennsylvania DUI attorney to discuss your options for protecting your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the police were investigating the defendant for another criminal matter and traveled to the defendant’s house to interview him. The defendant was not home, but his son answered the door and used his phone to call the defendant. He was unable to reach the defendant initially, but a few minutes later advised the officer that the defendant was on the phone. The officer spoke with the defendant and asked him where he was, but the defendant refused to disclose his location and hung up the phone.

Allegedly, the officer then advised the defendant’s son that he would seek a warrant if the defendant refused to speak with him. A few minutes later, the defendant’s son reported that the defendant was on his way home. Upon the defendant’s arrival, the officer observed that he was intoxicated and arrested him for DUI. Following a trial, the defendant was found guilty. The defendant appealed, arguing the verdict was against the weight of the evidence of his entrapment defense. Specifically, the defendant argued that the officer directed him to drive home despite the fact that he admitted to drinking.

The Defense of Entrapment

Under Pennsylvania law, a person prosecuted for a crime must be acquitted if he can prove that he engaged in the criminal act in response to an entrapment. In other words, a defendant arguing entrapment is not denying that he or she committed the criminal act but sets forth an affirmative defense. In order to successfully establish entrapment, the defendant must prove that the police’s conduct reached such a degree of outrageousness that a reasonable person would feel forced to commit a crime. Further, a defendant must prove entrapment by a preponderance of the evidence.

In the subject case, the court found that the defendant failed to meet his burden. Specifically, the court found that despite the defendant’s assertions, there was no evidence the officer knew that the defendant had been drinking or that the officer directed the defendant to drive home. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court’s verdict.

Discuss Your Case with a Capable Pennsylvania DUI Defense Attorney

If you are faced with charges that you committed a Pennsylvania DUI offense, it is advisable to discuss your case and what defenses you may potentially be able to assert with an attorney. Attorney Zachary B. Cooper is a capable Pennsylvania DUI attorney with the knowledge and experience required to help you strive to protect your rights. Mr. Cooper can be reached through the form online or by calling (215) 542-0800 to set up a consultation.