To understand solicitation, you should first understand what an “incomplete crime” is and how it relates to solicitation as a whole. Sometimes, a crime is not followed through with in the way that you may suspect it will be. This means that not all crimes will follow through to completion – sometimes the crime falls short of “robbed a bank” and meets somewhere in the middle. For this, we call the act an “incomplete crime.” It is merely an attempt, and was never completed. Incomplete crimes consist of six steps, such as getting an idea for a crime, evaluating an idea and deciding on whether or not to proceed, going forth with the idea, preparing for the crimes, beginning the crime, and finishing the crime. Merely having an idea for a crime is not punishable, but other steps are, of course.
When Solicitation Becomes a Crime
What is solicitation? This criminal act consists of requesting, encouraging, or demanding someone to engage in criminal conduct. Often times, you will find that solicitation goes hand in hand with prostitution because the defendant is soliciting someone to engage in these acts. However, there are many elements that come into play dealing with this crime. To be guilty of solicitation, you may find, one must request that somebody engages in criminal conduct as well as have the intention to engage in criminal conduct with that person if they agree to the act. Of course, states will have to take many elements into consideration because each state works differently with these laws. Some states will require that the other person actually receive the request.
In some cases, solicitation will not apply because the defendant in the case did not actually intend to commit a crime. Let’s take prostitution for example. Say that somebody jokingly suggested that another person sleep with him or her but it was only a joke – would this be solicitation for prostitution? Not necessarily, if it truly was a joke. Even if the listener believed that solicitation was at play, this will not rise to the crime of solicitation if the defendant is able to convince the jury that the words were meant as a joke.
Defenses Raised in Solicitation Cases
When it comes to criminal cases, any defendant can choose to say that they did not commit the act. This is the same for solicitation cases. Let’s say that somebody is charged with solicitation of prostitution – they may argue that he or she was not the person who did it, or even say that there was no intent to compensate the other person for the acts and that it was “simply sex.” Evidence will be needed to prove otherwise in this case.
Depending on the state, the penalties for solicitation can vary. They will get more immense depending on the degree of felony that was solicited. For example, you may find that if you solicited for murder, you will spend more time in prison than if you solicited for prostitution. First time offenders, if the offense happens to be low, may be surprised to find that they may avoid jail time and receive a small fine. However, most often people will find that they receive huge consequences for these crimes.
This is why it may be a good idea to have an attorney on your side if you have been arrested for a crime of solicitation. These crimes can be very serious in nature and vary greatly depending on how severe the crime actually was. Call us today at The Law Office of Peter Blair and we will assess your case.