Have you Been Charged with Criminal Solicitation in Georgia?
There are a few crimes in Georgia where a defendant can be convicted without actually having committed the crime. One of those crimes is criminal solicitation. Criminal solicitation involves the defendant hiring or commanding someone else to commit a crime for him or her. While they may not have been the one to commit the crime, they will still face significant penalties in Georgia.
Georgia Law on Criminal Solicitation
O.C.G.A. §16-4-7 states: A person commits the offense of criminal solicitation when, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a felony, he solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct.
The phrase “or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct” has been interpreted to mean that there is a clear and present danger of the other person performing a felony.
A person can still be convicted of criminal solicitation even if the other person refuses to commit the crime or if the crime was never committed, as long as the intent to commit the crime was present.
Georgia Case Law
A person was convicted of criminal solicitation in Georgia in Rana v. State, 304 Ga. App. 750, (2010). The defendant, Rana, desired to hire a hit man to kill his uncle. Rana was unaware that the man he was organizing the hit with was actually a Detective. While working out the details, Rana gave the Detective a handwritten check for $5,000, and after he was advised the murder had been completed, he handed the Detective another check for $2,000. During the trial, the jury looked at all the evidence including Rana asking the Detective to have his uncle killed, giving specific instructions as to the uncle's location, and the payments for the hit. Rana attempted to argue that he had a defense of impossibility because when he gave his uncle's location, the uncle was actually already through security at the airport, which made the hit impossible. In addition, Rana said the account on which the checks were written contained insufficient funds. However, the Court did not accept impossibility as a defense because at the time Rana believed the hit was possible. Therefore, the jury found Rana guilty of criminal solicitation of murder.
What has to be Proven to be Convicted
To be convicted of criminal solicitation in Georgia, the State must demonstrate the suspect is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal solicitation involves the state showing that the suspect had the intent to engage another person in a crime. There must be proof verifying both the solicitation and the defendant's intent.
Penalty for Criminal Solicitation in Georgia
The penalty for criminal solicitation to commit a felony in Georgia will be a prison term between one and three years. The crime will be considered a felony. However, if the crime was one punishable by death or by life imprisonment, then the punishment is elevated to a prison term between one and five years.
Defenses to Criminal Solicitation in Georgia
Lack of Criminal Intent: In Georgia, the statute requires that there be intent on behalf of the defendant to convince another to commit the crime. If there was no intent to persuade someone else to do the crime, then the defendant will not be guilty. An example is if two friends were talking and one friend said I bet we would get a lot of good stuff if we robbed that house over there. If the other person robbed the house and blamed the friend for soliciting him to commit the crime, his words would not be sufficient to satisfy criminal solicitation.
Revocation of the Criminal Intent: If the defendant exhibited a voluntary and complete abandonment of his criminal intent, then that could be a sufficient defense. However, this can be difficult to prove because the defendant must show that they notified the person they originally solicited to do the crime and also gave a timely and adequate warning to the police or made a substantial effort to stop the crime from occurring.
What are not Defenses
Impossibility: If the person who persuaded the other to commit the crime believed that the crime was possible, then it is still considered a crime.
The crime was never committed: It does not matter whether the crime was actually committed or not. The crime of criminal solicitation just requires that the solicited another person to commit a felony.
The person refused to commit the crime: A refusal to commit the crime does not negate criminal liability. The suspect still completed the solicitation. Therefore, they can still be convicted.
The person was an undercover cop so that the crime was not going to be committed: As long as the defendant intended to persuade or solicit the detective to commit the crime, they will still be found guilty. It does not matter that the detective would not have committed the crime.
A criminal solicitation conviction can have a significant effect on you and your loved one's future. Contact the offices of Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers and let their over 20 years of experience work for you. Don't wait because your future is at stake. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.