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Understanding the elements of a solicitation charge

There is an unfortunate and unfair conclusion drawn when someone is charged with an offense like solicitation. Many people assume that the person charged is guilty because authorities wouldn't arrest and charge someone unless he or she did something wrong.

Not only is this an inaccurate assumption, it is also a dangerous one. One of the fundamental rights that people have in the U.S. is that they are innocent until they have been proven guilty. So while it may seem like conviction is a foregone conclusion, it is not. People have the right to defend themselves against criminal allegations and fight to avoid conviction.

In order to defend against solicitation charges, it can be helpful to understand the elements of this offense.

Solicitation must involve a person who makes request that someone else engage in criminal activity, like prostitution. The person must also have an intention to also engage in that activity.

With this information in mind, it may be easier to understand the possible defenses that could lead to dismissal. If, for example, the person charged never actually made a request to engage in prostitution, the charge could be dropped. If the act requested was not actually unlawful, there may be no grounds for a criminal charge.

However, there are arguments that generally will not be effective defenses to solicitation charges. For instance, if someone solicits a person believed to be a prostitute but is actually an undercover officer, the charge can still stand. Claiming that the unlawful act never occurred will typically not be effective either.

Every case is different and must be approached as such. If you have been charged with solicitation, you need to understand your legal options when it comes to your defense. Discussing your case with a criminal defense attorney can help you identify possible strategies to protect yourself and your future.

Source:, "Solicitation," accessed on June 8, 2015

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