Being charged with hiring a hitman is something that only happens in the movies, right? In Pennsylvania, the state can charge a defendant with “criminal solicitation,” which is essentially the same thing. If you or someone you love has been charged with criminal solicitation, it is essential that you find an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to walk you through the charges and what precisely is at stake.
What is Criminal Solicitation?
For a person to be guilty of criminal solicitation, the court must find that:
- the person had the intent to advertise or facilitate the commission of the crime,
- they encouraged or asked another person to perform a specific criminal act (the actual crime or an attempt to commit the crime).
The only defense a defendant might have, if the court can prove the above, is whether the defendant then went back to the person they solicited to commit the crime and convinced them of not committing the crime, or acted in some other way to prevent them from committing the crime, in a way that proves the defendant completely renounced their total and voluntary participation in the criminal act.
In Allentown, Pennsylvania, the police arrested a man after they caught him trying to pay an undercover state trooper to kill his ex-girlfriend. The man had been conversing with the undercover trooper and agreed to pay him 150 Ecstasy pills in exchange for the trooper assaulting or killing his ex-girlfriend – i.e., he intended to advertise the crime, and he asked someone else to perform it – or attempt to perform it.
The Allentown man even went so far as to provide a photo of his ex and her home address. He also met up with the trooper and provided him with a loaded gun for the criminal act. Though he didn't have the payment on him, police could still charge him with criminal solicitation to commit homicide.
What Penalties Do You Face if You Hire Someone to Kill or Hurt Another?
In Pennsylvania, the criminal solicitation is charged as the same grade or degree as the most serious crime that was attempted or solicited, unless the crime solicited was so unlikely to occur or culminate in the commission of a crime that the actor did not present a public danger.
What this boils down to is: the defendant who is charged with criminal solicitation will be charged with the same grade or degree as the most serious crime that was attempted or requested. So, if a defendant asked another person to murder their ex-girlfriend, as in the article above, and the girlfriend survived the criminal act, the defendant would be charged with criminal solicitation of attempted murder. Much of the time, the penalties will range from probation and house arrest to full prison sentences.
How an Attorney Can Help
Any kind of criminal charge can be jarring, but being charged with criminal solicitation can make you feel like the world is spinning around you. What acts did you take in the past that could be considered criminal solicitation? An attorney, like Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the team at Lento Law Firm, can ensure the government upholds all your rights to due process. Attorney Lento will work diligently to uncover all the facts and evidence relevant to your defense and the advocate on your behalf. A criminal solicitation charge can mean a long-lasting consequence if not appropriately defended by someone with years of criminal defense experience. You do not want to attempt to defend yourself on your own. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.