California Penal Code Section 653(f) PC: Solicitation

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

solicitation arrest

While most people know that committing crimes is against the law, they may not realize that trying to get others to commit these crimes can be illegal as well. Solicitation is a criminal offense under California Penal Code Section 653f PC that can carry significant penalties, depending on the underlying crime solicited.

To prove a defendant committed solicitation, a prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements:

  1. The defendant requested another person to commit or to join in the commission of one of the following offenses:
    1. Bribery
    2. Carjacking
    3. Robbery
    4. Burglary
    5. Grand Theft
    6. Receiving Stolen Property
    7. Extortion
    8. Perjury
    9. Forgery
    10. Kidnapping
    11. Arson
    12. Assault with a Deadly Weapon
    13. Intimidating a Witness
  2. The defendant intended that the crime be committed
  3. AND the other person received the communication containing the request.

The crime of solicitation must be proven by the testimony of at least two witnesses or by the testimony of one witness and corroborating evidence. Someone is guilty of solicitation even if the crime solicited is not completed, or even started. The person who is solicited does not have to agree to commit the crime.

2. Related Offenses

Similar offenses include the following:

  1. ConspiracyCalifornia Penal Code Section 182 PC

3. Examples

A man is in jail while he awaits trial for murder. His girlfriend comes to visit him while he is in custody. The man asks his girlfriend to go find the prosecution’s chief witness and threaten the man so he will not testify. The girlfriend refuses to do this for her boyfriend. The man was not aware that his visit was monitored by jail personnel. This man could be charged with solicitation in violation of California Penal Code Section 653f PC even though the girlfriend refused his request to commit the crime of witness intimidation.

In a similar example, the same man who is in jail pending murder charges sends a letter to his girlfriend requesting that she try to scare off the prosecution’s witnesses. The letter is intercepted by jail personnel and never reaches the girlfriend. In this instance, the man in jail would not be criminally liable for solicitation because the other party never received the request, which is a required element of the crime of solicitation.

4. Defenses to Solicitation

As discussed above, the solicitation must actually be received by the other party in order for the crime of solicitation to occur. However, the other party only needs to receive the request and does not need to carry it out or even agree to it for the defendant to be criminally liable.

In addition, this may be an offense in which a person may be prompted into making a criminal solicitation by an undercover officer as part of a sting operation. If the officer is too aggressive in getting the target of the sting to make solicitous statements, the defendant may have a strong entrapment defense.

5. Penalties

If the crime being solicited is one of the ones listed above, solicitation is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $10,000 or the fine amount for the underlying offense, whichever is greater.

If the defendant solicited someone else to commit certain drug offenses, the offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail for first time offenses and up to a year in jail for subsequent violations.

If the crime solicited is rape or certain other sex crimes, the act of solicitation is a felony that is punishable by up to four years in prison.

If the underlying crime of a solicitation offense is murder, the defendant can be sentenced to up to nine years in prison.

6. Criminal Defense for Solicitation

If you or been charged with committing a solicitation offense, it is critical that you meet with an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer right away. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience. Mr. Kraut is highly skilled at fighting solicitation cases and knows how best to defend charges like this. Mr. Kraut is widely regarded throughout the court system as a savvy litigator who possesses an extensive knowledge of the law.

For more information about solicitation, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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