Criminal Facilitation and Criminal Solicitation

An experienced New York City criminal facilitation or criminal solicitation lawyer is necessary to meet any accusations of these crimes head on. Criminal Facilitation and Criminal Solicitation are respectively codified in New York Penal Code Article 115 and New York Penal Code Article 100. The crimes are somewhat similar, so they are both mentioned here even though they are technically different. 

Criminal Facilitation

A person commits Criminal Facilitation when he "renders aid" to a person who is committing a crime. To be guilty of Criminal Facilitation, the crime the defendant is helping in must either be a felony or the person committing the actual crime must be under the age of 16 and the facilitator must be over the age of 18. Criminal Facilitation in its most basic form is Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree. This is a class A misdemeanor which is punishable by up to one year in jail. However, as you add aggravating factors, you can increase the level of crime and its potential sanctions. A person is guilty of Criminal Facilitation in the Third Degree when he is over the age of 18; when he helps a person under 16; and when he engages in conduct which provides such person with the ability to actually commit a felony. This is a class E felony which is punishable by up to 4 years in prison. A person is guilty of Criminal Facilitation in the Second Degree when he helps someone commit a class A felony. Helping a person commit a class A felony is a class C felony which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. A person commits Criminal Facilitation in the First Degree when he helps someone under the age of 16 commit a class A felony. This is a class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in jail.

There are two important points regarding Criminal Facilitation. The first is that pursuant to New York Penal Code 115.15, a person cannot be convicted of any level of Criminal Facilitation with only the testimony of a person who committed the underlying felony unless that testimony is corroborated by other evidence which tends to connect the person accused with the facilitation. This mirrors the concept codified in New York Criminal Procedure Law 60.22 which forces prosecutors to corroborate the testimony of cooperators.

The second point is that in more circumstances in which a prosecutor can charge criminal facilitation, they can also charge the crime with which the facilitator is aiding. For example, if a person is accused of helping someone else sell drugs, the prosecutor can charge that person with Criminal Facilitation. However, the prosecutor can also charge that person with the actual crime of selling drugs if there is evidence to suggest that the person had the same mental state as the seller and if the person aided the seller in some way. The prosecutor has the right to do this under an "acting in concert" theory. Because the law does not apportion liability, all people who have the same intent to commit a crime are just as guilty as each other if they aid in each other in some way. This is important to remember. Thus, the getaway driver is just as guilty as the actual bank robber for his actions in the bank if they have the same mental state and he helps him (by acting as the getaway driver). It is because of this principle that prosecutors tend to use the crime of Criminal Facilitation for plea bargaining purposes rather than to bring initial charges.

Criminal Solicitation

Criminal Solicitation is often the bain of many New York City criminal defense lawyers because it is difficult to pin down the conduct that is considered illegal. Criminal Solicitation defined in New York Penal Code Article 100. According to Penal Code Section 100.00, a person commits the crime of criminal solicitation when "with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a crime, he solicits, requests, commands, importunes or otherwise attempts to cause such other person to engage in such conduct."

When a person commits this specific act, he is guilty of Criminal Solicitation in the Fifth Degree. Criminal Solicitation in the Fifth Degree is a violation, meaning it is not treated as a crime, however, it is still punishable by up to 15 days in jail. However, as you add aggravating factors to this basic definition, you raise the level of crime and the potential sanction. For example, if you solicit a crime and that crime is a felony, then you are guilty of Criminal Solicitation in the Fourth Degree, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

Criminal Solicitation in the Third Degree happens when a person who is over 18 years of age and solicits someone under the age of 16 to engage in a felony. This is a class E felony which is punishable by up to 4 years in prison.

Criminal Solicitation in the Second Degree happens when a person solicits a person into committing a class A felony. This is a class D felony which is punishable by up to 7 years in prison.

Criminal Solicitation in the First Degree happens when a person who is over 18 years of age solicits a person under the age of 16 into engaging a class A felony. This is a class C felony which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Accusations of either Criminal Facilitation of Criminal Solicitation in any degree can be serious. If you, or a loved one, is accused of any of these crimes, do not hesitate to contact John Buza for a free consultation.