September 28, 2023
In the state of Colorado, you don’t need to actively participate in a crime in order to be charged with a role in it. One of the ways this can happen is through solicitation of a crime.
While most people think about solicitation in terms of prostitution, the truth is that there are many non-sexual ways to commit this crime.
Here’s what you need to know about criminal solicitation and the penalties you can face if you’re charged with it.
Criminal Solicitation in Colorado: What Is It?
Solicitation is something considered an inchoate offense. An inchoate offense takes place when someone involves others in committing a crime or attempting to commit a crime but doesn’t actually participate in any other way.
Criminal solicitation is when someone entreats, induces, commands, or attempts to persuade someone else, or offers their services or someone else’s, to commit a felony.
They can try to persuade someone to be an accomplice or a principal in a crime, but the intent must be to facilitate or promote the commission of a crime and it must be proven they are clearly corroborative in that intent.
Basically, the law boils down to one person asking, attempting to get another to commit, or commands the commission of a crime. Doing so makes someone liable potentially for criminal solicitation under the law.
Asking someone else to commit a crime with them or a situation that doesn’t meet the requirements of a solicitation charge may be charged as a criminal conspiracy.
An Example of Colorado Criminal Solicitation Crimes
If you’re wondering what type of actions could potentially lead to criminal solicitation charges, here is an example that can help to clarify the idea of criminal solicitation for you.
Say a person approaches a friend and ask them to shoplift a piece of jewelry for them. Even if the friend doesn’t acknowledge the request, never goes to the jewelry store, and never even commits the crime, the person who asked can still be charged with a solicitation crime.
So what happens if the person asked to commit the crime actually does commit it? Two things.
- The person that encouraged the crime can be found guilty of solicitation as well as aiding and abetting the crime as an accessory.
- The person who actually commits the crime may be charged with the crime itself, but can not be charged with solicitation, however.
Penalties for a Solicitation Conviction in Colorado
Solicitation is considered to be a less serious version of the crime that was potentially committed. The penalties associated with solicitation are generally not as serious as they would be if the crime was committed.
That said, the penalties for solicitation depend on the underlying crime that was solicited. In other words, it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Generally, any sentence for a solicitation crime conviction is one class below the charges that would be brought if the crime occurred. For example:
- The criminal solicitation of a Class 1 felony can be charged as a Class 2 felony
- The criminal solicitation of a Class 2 felony can be charged as a Class 3 felony
- The criminal solicitation of a Class 3 felony can be charged as a Class 4 felony
The defense against criminal solicitation can be very technical, mostly hinging on the idea of the intent of the person charged with the solicitation. That’s why an experienced attorney is a must to help defend against charges like this in court.
As you can see, solicitation goes far beyond crimes involving prostitution and can be charged in a variety of ways. Understanding this can help you to avoid being charged with solicitation crimes in the future.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020 and is Lead Counsel rated.