By Jedidiah McKeehan

You may have seen a movie or tv show where a cop is undercover and trying to take down the bad guy and much to their surprise the bad guy is not committing any crimes. To complete their job, the cop may then try to talk the bad guy into committing a crime so they have something to arrest them for.

The scenario I have just described is a fairly common plot line in TV and movies but you may have never heard the legal term for these actions, which is entrapment.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines entrapment as: the action of luring an individual into committing a crime to prosecute the person for it.

If someone is charged with a crime, are they able to get out of the charge by claiming that entrapment occurred? It’s possible, but it would be very hard to be successful arguing this.

Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-11-505 states, “It is a defense to prosecution that law enforcement officials, acting either directly or through an agent, induced or persuaded an otherwise unwilling person to commit an unlawful act when the person was not predisposed to do so.”

If I am talking through that law out loud, I wonder how the defendant would prove they were not predisposed to sell someone drugs. I am not sure. I think it would have to be the person just testifying that were not and then it would be up to the jury to decide whether or not they believed them.

Is entrapment a defense you can argue to get you out of the charge with which you are charged? Yes, but it would be very hard to be successful arguing it.


Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including divorce, custody, criminal, and personal injury. Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.