Criminal Solicitation Law & Legal Definition


A person is guilty of solicitation to commit a crime if, with the purpose of promoting or facilitating its commission, he commands, encourages or requests another person to engage in specific conduct which would constitute such crime or an attempt to commit such crime or which would establish his complicity in its commission or attempted commission.  It is immaterial that the actor fails to communicate with the person he solicits to commit a crime if his conduct was designed to effect such a communication.

The crime of criminal solicitation is the actual soliciting, or seeking to engage another to commit a crime, not the subsequent commission of a crime. Therefore, a defendant can be convicted of soliciting, even though the person refuses and the solicited crime is never perpetrated, as long as the intent that that crime be committed is present.

It is an affirmative defense that the actor, after soliciting another person to commit a crime, persuaded him not to do so or otherwise prevented the commission of the crime, under circumstances manifesting a complete and voluntary renunciation of his criminal purpose. 

The following is an example of a state statute governing criminal solicitation:

"(a) A person is guilty of criminal solicitation if, with the intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a crime, he solicits, requests, commands or importunes such other person to engage in such conduct.

A person may not be convicted of criminal solicitation upon the uncorroborated testimony of the person allegedly solicited, and there must be proof of circumstances corroborating both the solicitation and the defendant's intent.

(b) A person is not liable under this section if, under circumstances manifesting a voluntary and complete renunciation of his criminal intent, he (1) notified the person solicited of his renunciation and (2) gave timely and adequate warning to the law enforcement authorities or otherwise made a substantial effort to prevent the commission of the criminal conduct solicited. The burden of injecting this issue is on the defendant, but this does not shift the burden of proof.

(c) A person is not liable under this section when his solicitation constitutes conduct of a kind that is necessarily incidental to the commission of the offense solicited. When the solicitation constitutes an offense other than criminal solicitation which is related to but separate from the offense solicited, defendant is guilty of such related offense only and not of criminal solicitation.

(d) It is no defense to a prosecution for criminal solicitation that the person solicited could not be guilty of the offense solicited because of:

  1. Criminal irresponsibility or other legal incapacity or exemption; or
  2. Unawareness of the criminal nature of the conduct solicited or of the defendant's criminal purpose; or
  3. Any other factor precluding the mental state required for the commission of the offense in question.

(e) It is no defense to a prosecution for criminal solicitation that defendant belongs to a class of persons who by definition are legally incapable in an individual capacity of committing the offense that he solicited another to commit.

(f) Criminal solicitation is a:

  1. Class A felony if the offense solicited is murder.
  2. Class B felony if the offense solicited is a Class A felony.
  3. Class C felony if the offense solicited is a Class B felony.
  4. Class A misdemeanor if the offense solicited is a Class C felony.
  5. Class B misdemeanor if the offense solicited is a Class A misdemeanor.
  6. Class C misdemeanor if the offense solicited is a Class B misdemeanor.
  7. Violation if the offense solicited is a Class C misdemeanor."