New York Solicitation Lawyer
Solicitation is a criminal offense in New York that involves asking or encouraging another person to engage in illegal conduct. In the context of sexual crimes, solicitation is the act of asking or encouraging someone to engage in prostitution or some other form of sexual conduct in exchange for payment or other compensation. While criminal solicitation is not serious crime. If you are convicted of solicitation, you will end up with a criminal record. If you are accused of the crime of solicitation, contact an experienced New York solicitation lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates. With over 20 years of experience, we can help you navigate the criminal justice system and protect your rights.Crime of Solicitation
Under New York Penal Law, solicitation is defined in § 230.00 as the act of offering or agreeing to pay a fee to another person with the understanding that in return therefor such person or a third person will engage in sexual conduct; or solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct with the actor in return for a fee.
Solicitation is a Class A Misdemeanor in New York, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. In addition to these criminal penalties, a conviction for solicitation can have a number of other consequences, such as a criminal record, difficulty finding employment, and damage to personal and professional relationships.
As an experienced New York solicitation lawyer will explain, it is not necessary for the solicited individual to actually engage in prostitution for a person to be charged with solicitation. Merely offering or agreeing to pay for sexual conduct is sufficient to support a charge of solicitation.
The crime of solicitation is often associated with other offenses, such as prostitution and human trafficking. In some cases, a person may be charged with both solicitation and the underlying crime of prostitution, which carries its own penalties.Defenses
There are several possible defenses that an experienced solicitation attorney in New York may raise on behalf of a defendant, including entrapment, lack of intent, and mistake of fact.
Entrapment. Entrapment occurs when law enforcement officials induce a person to commit a crime that they would not have committed otherwise. If a defendant can show that they were entrapped into committing the crime of solicitation, the charges against them may be dismissed.
Lack of intent. In order to be convicted of solicitation, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to engage in illegal conduct. If the defendant can show that they did not have this intent, the charges against them may be dismissed.
Mistake of Fact. A mistake of fact defense is based on the idea that the defendant lacked the necessary intent to commit the crime because they were operating under a mistaken belief about the facts of the situation. For example, if a defendant mistakenly believed that the person they were soliciting was an adult when in fact they were a minor, the charges against them may be dismissed.Notable New York Solicitation Cases
These two cases highlight that there are many instances in which defendants are arrested for solicitation after offering to perform sexual acts to undercover police officers in exchange for money.
- People v. Ghang, 2004 NY Slip Op 50965(U) (NY 8/24/2004) (N.Y. 2004). The court upheld the defendant's conviction for prostitution (Penal Law § 230.00), finding it was based on sufficient legal evidence and not against the weight of the evidence. The trial court, acting as the factfinder, had considered issues of credibility, and there were no grounds to overturn its determinations, as established in People v. Gaimari, 176 NY 84, 94 (1903). The court took into account various factors, including the nature and circumstances of the initial interaction between an undercover police officer and the defendant at a barber shop, as well as the defendant's actions after the officer's solicitation. The credible evidence convincingly demonstrated that the defendant agreed to engage in sexual conduct for compensation.
- People v. Medina, 685 N.Y.S.2d 599 (N.Y. City Ct. 1999). Defendant Allan Medina faced a misdemeanor prostitution charge (Penal Law § 230.00) based on an agreement between the defendant and an undercover police officer. The defendant moved to dismiss the case, claiming lack of legally sufficient factual allegations. He argued that it was factually and legally impossible for two males to agree to engage in sexual intercourse, as the law requires the participation of one male and one female. The court rejected this argument, explaining that the absence of a statutory definition for "sexual conduct" allowed for a broad interpretation. They noted that Article 230, dealing with prostitution offenses, uses the term "sexual conduct," which is gender-neutral and doesn't distinguish between gender or sexual orientation. Moreover, section 230.10 explicitly states that the sex of the parties involved in sexual conduct is immaterial. Thus, the motion to dismiss was denied.
If you or someone you know has been charged with solicitation, it is important to consult with an experienced solicitation attorney serving New York who can help you understand the charges against you and develop a strong defense. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Westchester County, and Suffolk County.