If you were arrested by reality TV star and police officer Christopher Butler — or another police officer acting inappropriately — this story is for you. Butler has been charged with seven felony counts, including framing men for driving while intoxicated (DWI). He has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison.
According to prosecutors, Butler set at least three men up for DWI arrests after he was hired by their wives and ex-wives to investigate the men. He would employ women to get the men drunk and convince them to drive. Butler would then alert police officers to the drunk driving.
Now, prosecutors have told at least one of the men that they will not prevent him from withdrawing his plea or clearing his record of the DWI.
Entrapment Defense for California Crimes
“He set me up.”
Entrapment is a defense to crimes in California. It says that if you would not have committed the offense except for the coercion or threats of a police officer and/or his or her agents, then you should not be held accountable for the crime. You must show, however, that it was more likely than not that you only committed the crime because of the wrongful police conduct. Furthermore, you must be able to show that the inducement would have motivated a “normally law-abiding person” to commit the ensuing crime.
Entrapment is a rare defense in DWI cases, but as the above case shows, it is certainly not unheard of. The entrapment defense is more likely to be used in a drug or sex crimes case. For example, a police officer can go undercover to investigate a drug crime, but he or she cannot make repeated solicitation / threats to a person, offer a large amount of money for the commission of the crime, or promise the person that the criminal conduct is in fact legal.
Your DWI Defense
Entrapment is not the only defense available to people facing criminal charges. For example, in a DWI case, a defense lawyer will determine whether the police officers acted appropriately during the stop and arrest, whether the breathalyzer or field sobriety test was done accurately and whether a blood sample was mishandled.
Source: The Oakland Tribune, “Former private investigator sentenced to eight years in police corruption scandal,” Malaika Fraley, Sept. 26, 2012. [no longer available from source]
Learn more about DWI defenses by visiting our pages on drunk driving.