What Happens if You Share Information With a Confidential Informant or Undercover Officer?

While law enforcement cannot force you to incriminate yourself in Pennsylvania, you may inadvertently do so when talking to an undercover officer or confidential police informant. In this case, can the prosecution use that information in a criminal case against you?

Review the facts about the use of these individuals to seek criminal information in Pennsylvania and steps to take if you face this situation.

Defining entrapment

Many people mistakenly believe that they can use entrapment as a defense if an undercover officer has evidence of a crime. In fact, Pennsylvania only recognizes entrapment if the officer or informant encouraged the offender to commit actions that he or she otherwise would not have done. You can also argue entrapment if an undercover officer or confidential informant leads you to believe that the conduct in question is not actually illegal.

Understanding next steps

You can face an arrest based on the information provided by a confidential informant or undercover officer. This holds true even if you merely admit to committing a crime and the person did not witness you commit a crime. A confidential informant may wear a wire, which means they taped your conversation and it can become evidence in the court case against you.

If you believe you accidentally admitted criminal activity to an informant or undercover officer, or if you face charges based on speaking to one of these individuals, you have the right to defend yourself against the charges in court. You have the burden of proof to show evidence if you think that entrapment occurred in your case.