Most of Nevada’s criminal statutes involve someone who takes an overt action that the legislature considers illegal. Others, however, fall under a section of the criminal code that identifies what’s known as “inchoate” or “incomplete” crimes.
Inchoate offenses comprise actions that by themselves would not be illegal, but go against the law because they are done to further some other crime. A common example is “conspiracy,” where someone can be convicted for simply making an agreement and taking a single step toward the commission of a crime. Whether the crime itself is actually committed is secondary.
Another example is the offense of “criminal solicitation.” Solicitation is often linked to prostitution, where someone solicits another by offering money for sex. But solicitation as a general term can be a crime in other contexts.
What is criminal solicitation? What are the elements of the offense and what is the punishment? The experienced defense attorneys at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers have put together this primer to help you understand criminal solicitation.
Criminal Solicitation Definition
Under Nevada law, criminal solicitation occurs when someone “counsels, hires, commands, or otherwise solicits” another person to commit a certain prescribed set of offenses. Whether those offenses were ultimately committed is relevant only to punishment. Solicitation carries more serious penalties in situations where crimes were carried out. But even if the underlying crimes were not committed, you can still face a charge of solicitation.
What Can You Be Charged With Solicitation For?
Solicitation is an offense mentioned in the Nevada Revised Statutes in four contexts: kidnapping, arson, murder, and prostitution. If the kidnapping or arson is never ultimately carried out, the solicitation charge represents a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine.
Someone who counsels, hires, commands, or otherwise solicits another to commit murder may be guilty of a Class B felony if the murder is not committed. If found guilty of criminal solicitation to commit murder, you can be sentenced to between two and 10 years in prison and fined up to $10,000. If the murder, arson, or kidnapping were completed, you can be charged with both solicitation and the actual offense itself.
Soliciting a prostitute is illegal under a different section of the Nevada Revised Statutes, as it may involve a more complex set of factors.
Can You Be Arrested for Soliciting a Prostitute in Las Vegas?
Many people believe prostitution is legal everywhere in Nevada, but that is not the case. It is against the law in counties with more than 700,000 people, which includes Clark County, home to Las Vegas. As a result, you can be arrested for soliciting a prostitute in Las Vegas.
It is possible to be arrested for solicitation even in counties where prostitution is considered legal. Nevada law permits prostitution only when it takes place in a regulated house of prostitution, or brothel. You could be arrested in any of Nevada’s counties if you solicit the services of a prostitute outside the brothel.
What Are the Penalties for Soliciting a Prostitute?
Soliciting the services of a prostitute outside a legalized brothel is considered a misdemeanor under Nevada law. Upon conviction, you can face penalties of up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. The penalties get more severe with repeat offenses.
The penalties are much more severe if the charge of solicitation involves a minor. A first offense is considered a Class E felony, carrying a prison sentence of one to four years and a maximum fine of $5,000; however, under the law, with only a few exceptions, judges are required to allow for a suspended sentence. A second offense is a Class D felony, which also could lead to a sentence of one to four years; and a third offense, a Class C felony, which comes with a potential one to five-year sentence and a $10,000 fine.
Another note: getting arrested on a charge of soliciting a prostitute requires a blood test to see if you have been exposed to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The law requires the results to be disclosed to law enforcement within 30 days of the arrest.
How Is Solicitation Different From Attempt or Conspiracy Charges?
Other types of “inchoate” offenses are the crimes of “attempt” and “conspiracy” — for example, “attempted murder” or “conspiracy to commit murder.” On the surface, it may seem that solicitation, attempt, and conspiracy are the same, but there is a significant difference.
The crimes of “attempt” and “conspiracy” require the person accused to take a step or steps towards actually committing the offense. To commit attempted murder, you must try to kill someone. To conspire toward that crime, you merely have to make plans with another person and begin to put them into motion.
Solicitation is different because, as an action, it is illegal unto itself. “Simply asking a person to commit a crime is enough,” the legal website Justia describes it.
Whether you have been charged with the offense of attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation, the attorney team at De Castroverde Law can help. We will evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case and work together to build a defense.
Contact the Criminal Attorneys at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers
Facing criminal charges is a scary experience. Do not navigate these uncertain waters alone. Let the experienced criminal defense lawyers at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers stand by your side. Our team includes former prosecutors who understand how cases are constructed and where they are weakest.
We serve Las Vegas and other parts of southern Nevada and have extensive experience with a wide range of criminal cases, including casino arrests and casino markers, bad checks, assault, battery, drug offenses, DUI, prostitution, resisting arrest, sex crimes, and other more serious matters. We understand the variables involved in a criminal case and can help guide you to the best possible result. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.