Solicitation of a Crime
PC 653 & 653f(a) Law & Defense
To solicit a crime means to ask, encourage, request, entice, implore, try, plead, or invite another person to commit a crime (PC 653f Abbrev.).
For example, if a wife asks her husband to help her hide property after telling her husband that she stole the property, then the wife has solicited her husband to commit the crime of being an accessory to the crime of receiving stolen property.
Note: A defendant can communicate his or her solicitation to commit a crime by just about any means of communication, including non-verbal communication.
The law on solicitation to commit a crime is found at penal code section 653f. Section 653f has several subsections that cover specific acts of solicitation.
The most common criminal charge of soliciting a crime is found at penal code 653f(a) Solicitation to commit a felony not including murder. To be found guilty of PC 653f(a), the prosecuting attorney will need to show evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did all of the following:
Encourage, entice, or otherwise request that another person commit a felony (such as a felony kidnapping, robbery, burglary, arson, felony vehicle theft, etc.),
Intended that the other person actually commit the crime solicited (as opposed to requesting in jest, joking, or without any reasonable belief that the other person would commit a crime), and
The other person received the communication of solicitation of a felony
The crime of soliciting another to commit a crime is complete so long as the three elements above are proved. This is true even if the person solicited does not actually carry out the solicited crime.
The crime of solicitation must usually be proved by at least two witnesses to the solicitation. One witness may be used to prove solicitation where there is corroborating evidence so long as the corroboration is independent of the witness who testifies about the communicated solicitation. More on this aspect of PC 653f at PC 653f Defenses (below).
PC 653f Punishment
Jail: Solicitation to commit a crime charged under PC 653f(a) is classified as a misdemeanor or as a felony. If found guilty of PC 653f(a), the defendant may face up to three years in jail (felony) or one year in jail (misdemeanor).
Other soliciting crimes and relevant maximum incarceration include:
PC 653f(b) Solicitation to Commit Murder. Felony charge with a punishment up to 9 years in prison
PC 653f(c) Solicitation to Commit Sex Crime. Felony charge with a punishment up to 4 years in prison
PC 653f(a) Soliciting a Minor to Commit Crime. Felony charge with a punishment up to 7 years in prison
PC 653f(d) Solicit to Commit Drug Offense. Misdemeanor charge with a punishment up to one year in jail
Probation: A probation sentence is a period of supervision instead of an actual jail or prison sentence. Probation is allowed in most PC 653f c, including solicitation to commit a felony (not including murder) (PC 653f(a).
Probation sentences usually include a sentence for work release or house arrest, which is intended to serve as an alternatively to jail or prison. Probation sentences are not guaranteed, but rather, they are allowed in some cases depending on the circumstances of the case, the defendant's criminal history, and the terms of a plea bargain, (if any).
PC 1170(h): If convicted of PC 653f(a) and not granted probation, the defendant may serve his or her incarceration in a local county jail, as opposed to a state prison. Also, any incarceration related to PC 653f(a) may be split (served partially out of custody on work release), or suspended.
CIMT: PC 653f crimes are crimes involving moral turpitude, which means that soliciting a crime is considered a morally wrong act. Crimes involving moral turpitude carry collateral punishments for non-US citizens (i.e., deportation, denial of naturalization, denial of reentry into the United States), licensed professionals (i.e., doctors, dentists, lawyers, therapist, teachers, etc.), and persons involved in military service (i.e., recruits, veterans, active military).
Three Strikes Law: Soliciting a crime not including murder (PC 653f(a)) is not a crime listed as a strike under California's Three Strikes Law; however, other PC PC 653f crimes could be considered a strike crime.
Fines: A conviction for PC 653f could lead to a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or the amount which could have been assessed for commission of the offense itself, whichever is greater, or by both the fine and imprisonment.
In addition to any possible prison or jail sentence, if found guilty of the crime of solicitation, the defendant could face stiff probation or parole terms, face civil lawsuits, be ordered to pay massive court fines and penalties, lose his or her immigration rights, face enhanced future penalties for subsequent criminal convictions, lose rights to own firearms, and more.
PC 653f Defenses
Defenses to the criminal charge of solicitation to commit a felony include, but are not limited to the following: statute of limitations (three-year statute of limitations for PC 653f(a), six year statute of limitations for PC 653f(b) and PC 653f(c)), insufficient evidence to prove the solicitation, insanity, intoxication, entrapment, double jeopardy, coerced confessions, suppression of evidence, and more.
PC 653f(g): An offense charged in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c) shall be proven by the testimony of two witnesses, or of one witness and corroborating circumstances. An offense charged in violation of subdivision (d), (e), or (f) shall be proven by the testimony of one witness and corroborating circumstances.
PC 17(b): Any wobbler crime, such as Penal Code 653f(a), may be charged either as a felony, or alternatively as a misdemeanor. In cases, where the district attorney has elected to charge a felony PC 653f(a), the defendant may motion the court to have that felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor charge. This is known as a Penal Code Section 17(b) motion.
Note: Whether the defendant's PC 17(b) motion is granted depends on many factors, including the defendant's criminal history, the sophistication of the alleged solicitation of a crime offense, the harm caused to any third parties, the remorse shown by the defendant, if any, the terms of any plea bargain between the defendant and the district attorney, and more. Most 17(b) motion are brought at the preliminary hearing stage of a felony soliciting a crime case.
Also, a PC 17(b) motion, even if successful, is not a true defense to a PC 653f(a) allegation in the sense that the criminal allegation is dismissed. Rather, a successful PC 17(b) motion will allow the defendant to proceed as though he was charged with a misdemeanor offense, which carries much less penalties than a felony offense if he is eventually found guilty of the crime. For more information, see PC 17(b) Motions.
If you or a loved one is charged with solicitation to commit a felony pursuant to PC 653f(a), or any other solicitation crime, contact our successful and experienced criminal defense attorneys today. Our consultations are provided at no cost to the accused. All consultations are private, and our criminal attorneys are available every day to assist you. Call today!
Quick Legal Reference
Crime: Solicit to Commit a Felony (Not Murder)
Code: PC 653f(a) (CalCrim No. 441)
Wobbler: Yes. PC 653f(a) is a wobbler crime. This means that PC 653f(a) may be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor.
Incarceration: Felony PC 653f(a) jail sentence range: 16 months, 2 or 3 years (if probation not granted). Misdemeanor jail sentence up to 1 year.
Probation: Probation is allowed in felony and misdemeanor PC 653f(a) cases (assuming other crimes or enhancements that bar a probation sentence are not present). Whether or not a probation sentence is offered by the District Attorney, or granted by the court, depends on several factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the case.
Work Release or House Arrest: In some cases, a probation sentence can include actual in-custody county jail, house arrest (electronic monitoring), or work release (or some combination of these penalties); however, most in-custody jail sentence orders that are required as a terms of probation are much shorter than the maximum jail sentence.
PC 1170(h)): Yes. PC 653f(a) is subject to PC 1170(h) sentencing. This means that any jail or prison sentence may be:
Split (half in-custody / half out-of-custody)
Suspended (possibly never served)
Served in county jail (not state prison)
Note: Limitations may apply
Strike: PC 653f(a) is not a strike offense listed in California's Three Strikes law.
Credits: 50% good conduct credits available.
CIMT: PC 653f(a) [Soliciting Violence] is a crime involving moral turpitude, which means that an arrest or conviction could lead to the following:
Professional Licensing problems
Impeachment on credibility
Firearms: Felony PC 653f(a) convictions prohibit defendant from owning or possessing a firearm.
Bail: $25,000 (Felony); $5,000 (Misdemeanor) (San Bernardino)
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California PC 653(f) Laws (Abbrev.)
PC 653f(a): Every person who, with the intent that the crime be committed, solicits another to offer, accept, or join in the offer or acceptance of a bribe, or to commit or join in the commission of carjacking, robbery, burglary, grand theft, receiving stolen property, extortion, perjury, subornation of perjury, forgery, kidnapping, arson or assault with a deadly weapon or instrument or by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, or, by the use of force or a threat of force, to prevent or dissuade any person who is or may become a witness from attending upon, or testifying at, any trial, proceeding, or inquiry authorized by law, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, ... (PC 653f(a) Abbrev.).
PC 653f(b): Every person who, with the intent that the crime be committed, solicits another to commit or join in the commission of murder shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, six, or nine years.
PC 653f(c): Every person who, with the intent that the crime be committed, solicits another to commit rape by force or violence, sodomy by force or violence, oral copulation by force or violence, or any violation of Section 264.1, 288, or 289, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years.