Although the U.S. Constitution grants citizens their rights to free speech, it does come with limitations. There are cases in which you can be charged with a crime just because of your words, even if you haven't exactly done anything else. Solicitation is a fitting example of such a crime.
What It Is
Solicitation is the crime of requesting, ordering, or encouraging another person to commit a crime with the intention of facilitating or getting involved in the same crime. For example, you commit the crime of solicitation if you ask someone to give you sexual favors and you offer them some money in exchange. In fact, solicitation is one of the most common examples of criminal charges emanating from prostitution-related activities, so much that it has become synonymous with prostitution. However, solicitation applies to all manner of crimes, and not just prostitution.
Just like other criminal charges, there are a few elements that an act must satisfy for it to pass the solicitation crime test. The specifics may vary by your jurisdiction, but in most cases, these two elements must be satisfied:
Request for Criminal Activity
You can only be accused of solicitation if you are the one who makes the request to engage in the criminal activity. This means the one who is being requested to engage in the criminal activity won't be charged with solicitation. For example, a company accountant who requests their treasurer to help them cook the books to embezzle company funds will be charged with solicitation, but the treasurer won't face the same charges even if they take a moment to consider the issue before declining.
The Intention of Engaging In the Criminal Activity
Solicitation charges also require that you intended to be part of the crime with the person you were soliciting. For example, you will be charged with soliciting prostitution if you request another person to sell you sex, but you won't be charged with solicitation if you request a person to sell sex to other people and give you a commission. In this case, you may be charged with other crimes, such as pimping, but not solicitation.
You may think that being charged with solicitation doesn't constitute such a serious crime because no criminal action actually took place, but that isn't the case. Solicitation is a punishable crime, and you need to take those charges seriously. Consult a criminal defense lawyer to help you with the case. The Law Offices of Alyson L. Sommers, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorney can offer more information.