Solicitation to Commit a Violent Crime
Criminal charges should always be taken seriously, regardless of whether they fall under the purview of federal or state courts. However, federal charges should be given special consideration, as they tend to be more thoroughly investigated and aggressively prosecuted, and also often come with much more severe penalties. For this reason, it is important that those who have been accused of soliciting the commission of a violent crime or another serious federal offense, speak with an experienced white collar crime lawyer who can help them begin formulating a strong defense.
Soliciting a third party to commit a violent crime is unlawful under both state and federal law. While a person can be charged with the former for allegedly soliciting another person in the state to commit a violent crime, a defendant can only be charged under the latter if the specific offense in question is unlawful under federal law. Even once charges have been made, however, a person can only be convicted of solicitation to commit a crime in federal court if prosecutors can demonstrate that:
- The defendant intended that another person would engage in a felony offense that involved the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force either against another person or his or her property; and
- The defendant commanded or endeavored to persuade a third party to commit that felony.
During the course of trial, prosecutors will also need to provide evidence of serious intent, demonstrated by convincing corroborative circumstances and an earnest attempt to persuade someone else to engage in criminal conduct. When prosecutors meet this burden and a defendant is convicted of this offense, he or she faces a prison sentence that is equal to half of the maximum term of imprisonment for the crime solicited. For instance, those who are convicted of federal assault face a maximum sentence of eight years, unless bodily injury was inflicted, in which case, the term could be increased to 20 years. This means that if a person was convicted of soliciting someone else to commit assault, he or she would face either four or ten years in prison depending on the circumstances.
Those who are charged with this federal crime can evade conviction by proving that they voluntarily and completely renounced their criminal intent and prevented the commission of the crime. However, in order to meet this burden, defendants must also be able to present evidence demonstrating that their renunciation was not motivated by a decision to postpone the crime until another time or to substitute a different victim. There are also defenses that are not available to defendants. For instance, those who are charged with this offense are not permitted to argue that the person solicited:
- Lacked the state of mind required for the commission of the offense;
- Was incompetent or irresponsible; or
- Is immune from prosecution.
To learn more about what defenses are available to you, please call our legal team today.
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For help planning your own defense, please contact dedicated Miami federal crime attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. at 305-670-9919 or by sending us an online message.