Solicitation is typically associated with harmless activity such as telemarketing and door-to-door salesmen, with solicitation of prostitution being the only crime that is typically associated with the word. In reality, however, any action that could be construed to indicate that you were discussing a crime with the intention of the crime being performed can land you a felony conviction in the state of Georgia.
In Georgia, you can be convicted of Criminal Solicitation if you get somebody to commit a felony. This can be by asking them, bribing them, or even tricking them. It doesn’t matter if they actually commit the crime, though- all that matters is if the prosecutor can prove that you tried to get them to.
The full text of O.C.G.A. § 16-4-7(a) reads: 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 first important word in the statute is where it says “…with intentthat another person engage in conduct constituting a felony…” This means that even if it can be proven that you asked somebody to commit a felony, the prosecutor still has to prove that you actually intended the other party to do so. In other words, the prosecutor has to prove that you weren’t just joking or pulling a prank. Also, unlike many other states, Criminal Solicitation in Georgia is limited to the solicitation of felonies. It’s important to note that the prosecutor only has to prove that you intended the person to commit the crime, but does not have to prove that you knew the crime was a felony (because in our legal system, the accused is always presumed to know the law).
If convicted of Criminal Solicitation, you are sentenced to 1-3 years in prison. If the crime solicited was punishable by death, the judge is instead free to sentence you to up to 5 years in prison. There are no fines associated with a violation of this statute.
The full language of O.C.G.A. § 16-4-7(b) reads: “A person convicted of the offense of criminal solicitation to commit a felony shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than three years. A person convicted of the offense of criminal solicitation to commit a crime punishable by death or by life imprisonment shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.”
I Didn’t Mean It. Any time that a defendant is charged with a crime, the prosecutor is required to prove that the defendant’s actions meet every single word (or “element”) in the statute itself. The prosecutor presents evidence to show that these elements have been met, but this evidence isn’t always strong enough to prove the defendant’s actions satisfied the elements “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Solicitation is uniquely difficult to prove because the prosecutor must prove not only that you actually asked an individual to commit a crime, but that you genuinely wanted them to complete the crime. Saying something as simple as “I was just joking” can be fatal to a prosecutor’s case if they have no way of proving otherwise.
Crime Solicited Not a Felony. Solicitation is unique because it requires a crime within the crime. In addition to proving that you asked somebody to commit a crime and that you wanted them to actually complete the crime, the prosecutor has to prove that the crime that you solicited was an applicable crime, In Georgia, that means any crime that is a felony. This allows us a second opportunity to attack your charge of solicitation by showing that the crime you have been alleged to have solicited should actually have been charged as a misdemeanor. Examples of this would include saying that “while you asked your friend to sell marijuana for you, there is no evidence that it was a felony amount of marijuana”, or to say that “while you asked your friend to fight somebody for you, there is no evidence that you wanted them to inflict injuries that rose to a felony level of battery”.
In Forrester v. State, Corey Forrester was convicted of trafficking cocaine and criminal solicitation to commit trafficking in cocaine. In 2002, an undercover officer made arrangements to purchase five ounces of cocaine from Corey Forrester and a colleague. When the officer arrived to complete the transaction, Forrester asked him to get in the car so that they could complete the transaction in motion. The officer refused, and Forrester drove off without having completed the crime. The conversation was enough for the officer to secure a search warrant, though, and when the officer arrived at Forrester’s home he was observed pouring gallon bags of a white powder down the sink, which later turned out to be cocaine. Inside the house was cocaine, scales, packaging equipment, eight loaded handguns, a bulletproof vest, and $10,188 in cash.
Although the transaction was never completed and Forrester never sold the officer any drugs, there was enough evidence that he requested the officer to perform the purchase (when he asked him to get in the car), that he intended for the officer to actually complete the purchase (because the cocaine was packaged and ready to be delivered), and that the solicited crime was a felony (trafficking in cocaine, because of the amount of cocaine discussed and discovered).
CONTACT BIXON LAW TODAY
If you have been charged with Criminal Solicitation of a crime and need the best local criminal defense attorney, give Bixon Law a call today to speak to one of our experienced Georgia criminal defense lawyers. We will vigorously defend your criminal defense rights, and advocate on your behalf to have your criminal case dismissed or your charges reduced. As experienced trial attorneys, we are not afraid to take your case to trial if necessary. We represent clients in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia. We are lawyers who are committed to helping people in difficult situations, and we invite you to call us at 404-551-5684 for a free consultation on your case today.