How Your Non-Serious Words Or Joke Can Turn Into A Criminal Solicitation Charge
Your words can get you into trouble, even if you're only joking around or saying something you feel is innocent. If someone takes what you say as an excuse to commit a crime, you can face a criminal solicitation charge. Here is a look at how criminal solicitation works, and what you should watch out for.
Watch What You Say and How You Say It
Criminal solicitation implies you gave another person the motivation to commit a crime. Some examples of criminal solicitation can include:
- Outright asking someone to commit a crime
- Implying someone should commit a crime
- Promoting a criminal activity to someone
- Encouraging someone to commit a crime
- Demands someone commits a crime
Many of these examples don't leave room for jokes or random wordplay. Because of that, you should always watch what you say, and how you say it.
Watch How Others Take Your Words
You can make a joke to your friend about how robbing some unsuspecting person will alleviate your friend's money problems. While you say it completely in jest, your friend might take it completely seriously. Your friend may well go off and attempt to rob someone.
If the authorities arrest your friend, and your friend says they got the idea from you, then you may receive a visit from the authorities as well. Making a joke isn't a crime, but you should make sure you let people know you're joking or not to take what you're saying seriously.
Pay attention to how others take your words. If someone seems to take them a little too literally, make sure to dissuade them.
Know that a Crime Doesn't Have to Take Place
Criminal solicitation is the crime itself. Even if a crime doesn't occur because of your words, the words alone can stand as a criminal offense. This is an important distinction; one that can make you complacent with the charge.
For example, if you tell someone you would pay them money to harass a passerby, the harassment doesn't have to occur. If someone who overheard your solicitation reports it, you can still face a criminal charge, even if nothing happened.
Keep Your Story Straight When Faced With Criminal Solicitation
With a criminal solicitation charge, the prosecution has to prove you fully intended for the ensuing crime to take place. If you maintain you were just joking or didn't intend things to get out of control, don't change your story.
Criminal solicitation charges often have penalties that depend on the particular crime solicited. Don't assume you can show up at court, say it was all in jest, and walk out with no repercussions. Take the charge seriously and speak with a criminal defense law office like The Fitzpatrick Law Firm about your options.