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Criminal Solicitation - Utah Criminal Attorney

Under the Utah criminal code, a person may face felony prosecution for criminal solicitation for requesting that another person commit a crime. Even if the other person does not agree to commit the crime and takes no action in furtherance of the crime, the person making the request may still be criminally charged and convicted.

Penalties for criminal solicitation can be severe. If you are facing prosecution for criminal solicitation or other crimes, having the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can be the best way to ensure a positive result in your case. Based in Salt Lake City, defense lawyer Stephen Howard offers legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us for a confidential consultation.

Defending Charges of Criminal Solicitation in Utah

What are the elements of criminal solicitation?

Criminal solicitation is considered an "inchoate" crime under Utah law - meaning that it is a partially completed crime. Common examples of an inchoate or incomplete crime also include an "attempt" to commit a crime and a "conspiracy" to commit a crime. Where the underlying crime is never actually committed or completed, no harm may be caused. Nevertheless, the legislature has prohibited and criminalized even these preliminary steps toward the commission of a crime.

Salt Lake Defense AttorneyUnder Utah Code 76-4-204, a defendant can be charged with criminal solicitation if the defendant “solicits, requests, commands, offers to hire, or importunes” another person to engage in felony criminal conduct. A prosecutor does not have to prove that the defendant knew that the conduct requested would constitute a felony crime. Instead, the prosecutor need only establish that the conduct, under the circumstances as the defendant believed them to be, would constitute a felony offense.

A request made as a joke is not sufficient to support a charge of criminal solicitation. The prosecutor must present proof that the defendant had the intent that the felony actually be committed. To support this required proof, the evidence must show that the circumstances under which the solicitation was made were “strongly corroborative of the actor’s intent that the offense be committed.”

Whether the requested crime is actually committed or not can be irrelevant to a prosecution for criminal solicitation. It is no defense to a charge of criminal solicitation that the other person did not actually agree to commit the requested crime, did not commit any over act in furtherance of the requested crime, or that any acts committed by the other person did not constitute a substantial step toward the commission of the requested crime.

The other person does not have to be prosecuted in order to file a charge of criminal solicitation against the person making the request. Even if the other person is charged but acquitted (found not guilty) of committing the requested crime, the person making the request can still be independently prosecuted for criminal solicitation.

What are the penalties for criminal solicitation in Utah?

A conviction for criminal solicitation is generally punishable at one degree less than the penalty for the requested crime. For example, if a person requests that another person commit a first-degree felony, the criminal solicitation charge can be punished as a second-degree felony. A request to commit a third-degree felony can be punished as a class A misdemeanor.

Criminal Defense Attorney - Consequences of ConvictionExceptions to this general rule are set forth in Utah Code 76-4-204. Under this section of the Utah criminal code, criminal solicitation of certain first-degree felony offenses are still punishable at the first-degree felony level with the potential for life in prison as a maximum sentence, but with a lower minimum term ranging from three years to fifteen years in prison.

If the requested crime is actually committed, the defendant may instead by prosecuted as a “party” to the offense under Utah Code 76-2-202. A defendant convicted as a party to the offense is guilty of the same level offense as if the defendant had personally committed the crime.

Can criminal solicitation include a misdemeanor offense?

Criminal solicitation under Utah Code 76-4-204 covers only solicitation to commit a felony offense. A request to commit a misdemeanor offense will not support a criminal solicitation charge.

However, if the misdemeanor crime is actually committed as a result of the request, the person who made the request can be prosecuted as a “party” to the offense. The penalties for a person who is prosecuted as a “party” can be just as harsh as the penalties imposed against the person who actually committed the offense.

Is criminal solicitation the same as sex solicitation?

Criminal solicitation is a criminal offense entirely separate from the offense of sex solicitation. Utah Code 76-10-1313 establishes the crime of “sexual solicitation.” The level of offense for a charge of sexual solicitation can range from a class B misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, depending on the age of the person solicited and depending on whether the defendant has been previously convicted of a similar offense.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City

If you have been charged with criminal solicitation or other criminal offenses in Utah, the assistance of an experienced criminal attorney can be vital to achieving the best outcome for your case. The criminal justice system is complex, and the consequences of conviction can be severe.

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal attorney Stephen Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah. His track record includes not guilty verdicts and dismissals for some of the most serious charges on the books in Utah.

Contact us today to arrange for a confidential consultation.

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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

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