There are things out there that some people might want to do, but can’t because it is illegal. For most people, that is enough for them to let the idea go altogether. However, some people still want to do whatever illegal thing it was that they were thinking of, and they might just have a way around the law.
To stay out of trouble and still get the illegal task done, some people resort to hiring someone else to do the deed for them. They think this leaves them free and clear, but it does not. Hiring someone to commit a crime is just as illegal as committing the crime itself.
The Definition of Solicitation
The act of hiring or convincing someone else to commit a crime is referred to as solicitation. This crime is covered under 2 different laws, Penal Code (PC) 647 and PC 653(f).
PC 647 is solely concerned with someone soliciting another person for lewd acts and/or prostitution. If a person tries to convince another person to commit a lewd or sexual act in public, then they are guilty of disorderly conduct. The same is true if a person tries to solicit another individual with prostitution.
Meanwhile, PC 653(f) covers solicitation of pretty much every other criminal act. Some examples of crimes that are covered under this law include:
✦ And theft.
This is just a small sample of the crimes that are covered under PC 653(f).
In all instances, the person being solicited does not have to agree to the intended action of the solicitor for them to be guilty of soliciting. A person is guilty of soliciting the minute they intentionally ask someone to commit something that they know is a crime.
The Penalties of Solicitation
The penalties that a person will face for solicitation are dependent on the crime the person solicited. When it comes to PC 647(a), soliciting lewd conduct in public, and PC 647(b), soliciting prostitution, these crimes are both charged as disorderly conduct. This means that a person will face misdemeanor charges that come with:
✦ Up to 6 months in county jail.
✦ A max fine of $1,000.
✦ Misdemeanor probation.
If a person has previous charges of solicitation of prostitution charges, then they will face increased consequences. If the act is committed in a vehicle, then a person can also have their driver’s license suspended.
When it comes to the other types of solicitation, those covered under PC 653(f), the penalties are much more varied. In these instances, a person will face consequences related to the offense they solicited. This means that they could face misdemeanor or felony charges depending on what crime it was they tried to solicit. The worse the crime, the worse the consequences.
A person cannot be charged with both solicitation and the crime itself. If a person solicits another person to commit a crime, and the other individual goes through with the crime, the solicitor will be charged as an accessory to the crime. This means the solicitor will face the same charges as if they had committed the crime themselves.
It Is Still Illegal
When a person tries to convince someone else to commit a crime for them, it is just as bad as if they had tried to commit the crime themselves. This law is very similar to that of criminal conspiracy in that someone is planning to commit a crime. The only difference is that in this instance, the person planning the crime isn’t the one who would end up committing the crime.
The act of soliciting a crime is illegal here in California to deter people from trying to convince others to commit crimes for them.