Soliciting Some to Commit a Criminal Offense: Penal Code 653fPC
A person charged with a crime does not always have to be the person who committed the actual offense. California statute does allow law enforcement officials to charge an individual with just asking someone else to actually commit the crime. However, it is important to keep in mind that not every criminal offense in California is covered under this statute (Penal Code 653fPC). An example of this would be the solicitation of lewd conduct. This is actually a separate criminal offense, and would need to be charged accordingly. Another example is the solicitation of prostitution.
Solicitation of a Crime Explained and Defined
In order to be found guilty of soliciting someone to commit a crime under this particular statue in California, the following three conditions must generally be met. They are:
The crime that you ask another individual to commit needs to be specifically covered under the scope the existing solicitation law in California.
You actually intended the crime to be carried out.
The other individual involved must actually receive some form of communication directly from you. This communication must specifically direct them to commit the crime in question.
As mentioned, only certain crimes are covered under this particular statute. At the current time, these include the following: Carjacking, robbery, burglary, grand theft, receiving stolen property, extortion, perjury, forgery, kidnapping, arson, assault with a weapon that is deadly, dissuading a witness, murder, major sex crime, the sale or transpiration of a controlled substance, and fraud involving Medi-Cal. In relation to sex crime, the following are covered under the solicitation of a crime statute in California: Rape, sodomy, oral copulation, and penetrations with a foreign object.
Does the Crime Actually Have to be Committed?
It is very important to understand that California law does not require the crime actually have been committed before an individual can be charged with solicitation. This charge can be levied against a person, even if the other individual in question rejected the solicitation in the first place.
An example of this is a husband who is on trial for a serious crime. In order to try to establish an alibi for the time of the crime in question, he asks his wife to commit perjury and state that he was somewhere else. The wife refuses out of fear of being accused of perjury herself. Even though she did not actually commit perjury, the husband can be charged with solicitation of a crime under this particular California statute.
However, it is equally important to understand that just thinking or planning out a solicitation offer is not enough to be charged with this crime. You must actually communicate your desires with another individual. Until that communication actually takes place and is received by the other person, no solicitation has actually occurred.
Along this same line, you can actually send a piece of communication (such as a letter or email) to another individual soliciting them to commit a crime. If they never receive it, however, then you have not actually committed solicitation yet. This particular statute is quite clear about that, so you would not be found guilty. This is why you will want a professional and experienced attorney working on your case from the very beginning.
Possible Penalties for Solicitation of a Crime
The actual penalty for violating this statue depends on the crime that has been solicited. Being found guilty of asking someone to commit perjury, for example, would likely result in less severe punishment than soliciting something to murder another individual. Some charges will result in a misdemeanor, such as the solicitation of sale or transportation of a controlled substance. It it is your first offense, you would likely be charged with misdemeanor that is punishable by up to six months in prison and a possible fine of up to $1,000.
Some offenses will carry a felony charge, as in the case of solicitation of a forcible sex crime. This would result in a felony charge. For a first offense, this would result in a penalty of between two and four years in prison, along with a possible fine of $10,000. Some offenses fall into the ‘wobbler’ category. As such, the prosecutor can decide whether a misdemeanor or felony is warranted. Usually, the determination based upon how many prior offenses you have and the intent to cause grave harm to another individual. Misdemeanors can be punishable by up to one year in prison, while felonies range from sixteen months to four years.
If you have been charged with solicitation to commit a crime in California, it is important to retain legal representation right away. Your future well being is at stake here. Allow an attorney to work on your case and make sure that your legal rights are protected.