Solicitation to Commit a Crime – California Penal Code 653f
California Penal Code 653f makes it a crime to solicit another person to commit certain crimes. In other words, the crime of “solicitation” means to encourage, promote, ask, plead, command, entice, recruit, or urge someone else to commit a crime. Contacting someone to solicit a crime can occur through just about all forms of communication.
The primary factors of a criminal solicitation are the specific words used in order to encourage someone to commit a crime, intent to carry out the crime, and if the solicited person received the communication.
It should be noted that you can still be found guilty of Penal Code 653f solicitation to commit a crime even if the solicited crime was never agreed upon or ever completed.
In other words, the act of asking someone to commit a crime is sufficient for prosecuting soliciting the commission of a crime, but not all crimes are covered under Penal Code Section 653f.
Let's look at a possible example of a solicitation to commit a crime. Let's say someone is sitting in a county jail waiting on trial for their alleged crime. They discover there is witness who has damaging testimony that could make them lose their case.
The man then writes a letter to a friend encouraging them to find and assault the witness to convince them to keep their mouth shut and not provide testimony in court. His friend did receive the letter, but decides not to actually carry out the assault.
When the letter is discovered by prison officials who monitor inmate mail, they realize the inmate was soliciting another person to commit a crime and forward the information to the prosecutor's office.
In this scenario, the inmate could be facing charges of solicitation to commit a crime in violation of California Penal Code 653f. As stated, it doesn't matter if the solicited crime was ever carried out. The request and encouragement is sufficient to support prosecution.
To give readers a better understanding of the laws on solicitation to commit a crime, our defense lawyers are providing an overview below.
Definition of Penal Code 653f Soliciting Someone to Commit a Crime
California Penal Code 653f PC defines solicitation to commit a crime is as:
Anyone who solicits another person to accept, bribe, commit carjacking, robbery, burglary, grand theft, receiving stolen property, extortion, perjury, kidnapping, arson or assault with a deadly weapon, or anything that can cause great bodily injury, or, uses threats or force to prevent someone from becoming a witness from testifying.
In order to be found guilty of PC 653f, the prosecutor has to be able to prove all the elements of the crime listed under CVALCRIM 441 Jury Instructions. These factors include that you requested another person to commit a crime with intent that the crime was to be committed, and the other person received your communication.
The California crimes that are covered under Penal Code 653f, soliciting someone to commit a crime, include:
Penal Code 459 – Burglary
Penal Code 211 – Robbery
Penal Code 215 – Carjacking
Penal Code 207 – Kidnapping
Penal Code – 487 – Grand Theft
Penal Code 187 – Murder
Penal Code 245(a)(1) – Assault with a deadly weapon
Penal Code 451 and 452 – Arson
Penal Code 496(a) – Receiving stolen property
Penal Code 518 – Extortion
Penal Code 470 – Forgery
Penal Code 118 – Perjury
Penal Code 136.1 – Dissuading a witness
Most Common California Related Offenses
California Penal Code 653f(b) – Solicitation to Commit Murder – soliciting someone to commit a murder is a felony crime that carries a sentence of 3, 6, or 9 years in a California state prison, and fine up to $10,000.
California Penal Code 653f(c) – Solicitation to Commit a Sex Crime – soliciting someone to commit a sex crime, such as rape by force or violence, sodomy by force, oral copulation by force is also a felony crime. Penalties include up to 4 years in a California state prison, mandatory registration as a sex offender for life, and fine up to $10,000.
California Penal Code 653f(d) – Solicitation to Commit a Drug Crime – soliciting someone to commit a drug crime, such as sale or transportation of controlled substances is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to 1 year in a county jail and a $1,000 fine.
Penalties for Penal Code 653f Soliciting a Crime
California Penal Code 653f solicitation of other offenses are “wobblers,” meaning the prosecutor can file the case as either a misdemeanor or a felony crime.
If convicted of a misdemeanor, the penalties include up to one year in a county jail and a fine. If convicted of a felony, the penalties include 16 months to 3 years in a county jail.
A conviction for soliciting a crime could also result in a probation or parole term, loss of a professional license and gun rights, and deportation for an undocumented immigrant.
What Does the Prosecutor Have to Prove?
In order for a prosecutor to obtain a conviction, they have to prove beyond any reasonable doubt, that you encouraged or requested another person to commit a crime, your intent was for the other person to commit the crime, and they did in fact receive your communication
Solicitation to commit a crime is normally proven from testimony of at least two witnesses, or one witness, and corroborating evidence.
These witnesses are typically the individuals who were solicited to commit the crime. Corroborating evidence refers to any evidence connecting you with the commission of the crime, but is separate from evidence given by a witness.
Corroborating evidence can include your behavior or statements that show a pattern connecting you to soliciting a crime. Again, the solicited person doesn't have to agree to commit the crime and the prosecutor is not required to prove a crime was actually committed.
Fighting PC 653f Soliciting a Crime Charges
Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will review all the details of the case to determine an appropriate strategy for best possible outcome. Some common defenses include:
The prosecutor needs two witnesses, or one witness and corroborating evidence. If they are unable to produce either one, we might be able to make an argument they lack credible witness of insufficient corroborating evidence.
We might be able to argue you have been falsely accused by someone attempting to avoid prosecution. This means the accuser has a motive to lie. If we can cast doubt on the charges, you have a better chance at avoid a conviction.
Other potential legal defenses include police entrapment or a coerced confession.
If you were accused of solicitation to commit a crime in violation of California Penal Code 653f, contact our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys to review the details and options. We might be able to prevent a formal filing of charges through pre-filing intervention.
Cron, Israels & Stark is a criminal defense law firm located at 11755 Wilshire Blvd, 15th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025. We also have an office located at 401 Wilshire Blvd #1200, Santa Monica, CA 90401.