Criminal solicitation is an inchoate crime, consisting of offering something of value to induce another person to commit a crime with the intent that the person asked actually commits the crime.
Examples of solicitation include:
- Prostitution (solicitation of sex in exchange for money);
- Murder (offering an individual money in exchange for killing someone); and
- Drug crimes (offering an individual money in exchange for drugs or illegal contraband).
The crime of solicitation is complete upon asking, meaning that the whether or not the person solicited actually does what is asked of them, the person doing the soliciting has already committed the crime, just by asking. The person asked does not have to be willing to commit the crime as long as the person asking asks with the specific intent that the other person carry out the crime. For example, a person can be charged with solicitation when the person they are asking is an undercover agent, who has no intention of carrying out the crime.
Criminal solicitation is requesting, encouraging or demanding someone to engage in criminal conduct, with the intent to facilitate or contribute to the commission of that crime. Most commonly, “solicitation” refers to solicitation of prostitution – the crime of soliciting someone to engage in prostitution.
Defenses to Solicitation Charges
As in all criminal cases, a solicitation defendant can challenge that they did not commit the act, or that they did not have a criminal intent if they did commit the act. For example, someone charged with solicitation of prostitution might argue that he or she was not the person who did it, or that there was no offer or intent to compensate the other person for performing sex acts.
In some cases, a person is not liable for solicitation if he or she recants their intention to commit the subsequent crime, and notifies the other person that their request is off the table. Depending on what type of criminal behavior the person was soliciting, recanting might also require notifying the police in order to prevent subsequent criminal conduct from unfolding.
Often, evidence in addition to any testimony from the person propositioned is required in order to convict someone of solicitation.
Punishment for Solicitation
Solicitation usually applies to serious offenses. Separate statutes exist under most state criminal codes to account for criminal solicitation. Under federal law, the solicitation of a felony crime is punishable by no more than half of the punishment available for the actual crime. Also, the law does not allow for a person to be charged for solicitation in conjunction with the underlying crime. Thus, a person can either be charged for the underlying crime or for soliciting the crime. Not both.
If an individual who is guilty of solicitation voluntarily abandons the criminal conduct, he may be able to use such a renunciation as a defense during trial. Sometimes notifying of the police is required. If the crime is complete, it is likely too late for renunciation. Other defenses may also be available depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the incident. If an undercover police officer is involved in the case, there is a chance that entrapment may be involved.
State laws regarding solicitation will vary from federal laws. Solicitation laws can be complex and difficult to understand without the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Austin Solicitation Defense Lawyer: The Charles Johnson Law Firm
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Related News Stories – Solicitation Arrests in Austin
GREENE COUNTY, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Greene County deputies have arrested two men accused of trying to solicit minors online. Austin Lee Shifflett, from Greene County, is charged with three felony counts of solicitation of a minor over a computer. Jonathan ...newsplex.com - Sep 23 2016
Burnet Middle School Principal David Dean was arrested Monday morning on a charge of online solicitation of a minor, a second-degree felony, according to Austin district officials. The Austin school district has placed him on administrative leave without pay.Statesman - May 16 2016
Austin Tyler Martin, 29 ... So far, Fauquier sheriff’s detectives arrested four men on felony charges involving online solicitation of sex from minors. Three arrests took place last month. The investigation has used “various social media,” according ...Fauquier Now - Sep 19 2016
AG Paxton’s Criminal Investigations Division Helps Put Child Predator Away for Life AUSTIN – Texas Attorney ... Payne’s trial that Payne had a pattern of soliciting sex from minors online. In 2005, CID arrested Payne on charges of Online Solicitation ...guidrynews.com - Sep 24 2016
The arrests followed a Greene County Internet Crimes Againist Children investigation. Jonathan Stuart Viar (pictured left) of Waynesboro is charged with two felony counts of solicitation of a minor over a computer. Austin Lee Shifflett (pictured right ...1070 WINA Newsradio - Sep 24 2016