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Florida Statutes Section 777.04 – A Guide to Florida Criminal Attempt, Solicitation, and Conspiracy Definitions and Charges

In Florida, it is a criminal offense to solicit, attempt, or conspire to commit a crime, even if the crime itself was never completed. One way in which to think about these crimes is that they are steps towards the commission of a criminal offense. While an attempt to commit a criminal offense can involve just one individual, conspiracy and solicitation must involve an additional person.

At Musca Law, our team of Florida Criminal Attempt Defense Attorneys fully understand the severe nature of these criminal offenses, but also that there may be available defenses and strategies that can work in an accused’s favor.

What is Criminal Attempt in Florida?

Under Florida Statutes Section 777.04(1), “attempt to commit a crime” means an “attempt to commit an offense that is forbidden by law” and during such attempt, “does any act toward the commission of such offense, but fails in the perpetration or is intercepted or prevented in the execution thereof.”

What this means is that the prosecution must both show that the suspect had the intention to commit a criminal offense and that the individual took actions in furtherance of the intention. Otherwise stated, a suspect goes beyond just talking or thinking about committing a crime. The suspect would have been successful in carrying out the criminal offense except for the fact that another person or another thing prevented him or her from doing so, or the suspect was unsuccessful in his or her attempt.

One way in which to launch a strong defense to criminal attempt is provided for in Florida Statutes Section 777.04(5)(a), which provides that the person abandoned his or her to commit a criminal offense or otherwise prevented it from occurring. For this defense to be applicable, the renunciation of the crime must have been complete and voluntary.

What is Solicitation in Florida?

Under Florida Statutes Section 777.04(2), “a person who solicits another to commit an offense prohibited by law and in the course of such solicitation commands, encourages, hires, or requests another person to engage in specific conduct which would constitute such offense or an attempt to commit such offense commits the offense of criminal solicitation.” To “solicit” means to attempt to influence another person to do something.

In order to prove solicitation in Florida, prosecutors must establish that the suspect requested another person to commit a crime and while in discussions with said third party, the suspect encouraged, directed, asked, invited, or hired another individual to attempt to or to actually commit a criminal offense.

Unlike with criminal attempt, it is unnecessary with solicitation that the suspect took actions in furtherance of the crime being solicited. Otherwise stated, let’s say for instance that a wife asks another person to kill her husband. The wife did not commit any act or actually pay the third person to kill her spouse. Notwithstanding, she can still be guilty of solicitation of homicide.

What the central point is in solicitation cases is that the third party does not actually have to commit the crime solicited in order for a person to be convicted of this offense.

Another illustration. A person approaches another individual who appears to a prostitute and requests certain sexual favors in exchange for $500. However, the “prostitute” was actually a police officer who was going undercover. The person seeking the services of the prostitute can be immediately arrested for solicitation, even if no money was actually exchanged.

There is a viable defense to solicitation that is found in Florida Statutes Section 777.04(5)(b), which provides that if a person who solicited another person to commit a criminal offense persuades the third party not to pursue it or engages in acts to prevent its commission, he or she cannot be convicted of solicitation in Florida.

What is Conspiracy in Florida?

Under Florida Statutes Section 777.04(3), a conspiracy occurs when “[a] person who agrees, conspires, combines, or confederates with another person or persons to commit any offense.” Pursuant to this statutory section, it is not a requirement for the suspect to orally consent to the proposed arrangement, and it is also not a requirement to demonstrate that both individuals actually committed the act. What the prosecution must establish is that (i) the suspect requested another individual to commit a criminal offense, and (ii) the suspect made an agreement with the other person to commit said criminal offense.

If after engaging in a conspiracy to commit a criminal offense, the suspect either prevented or convinced the third party to not carry out the crime, he or she will not be convicted of conspiracy.

There are various penalties associated with criminal attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy. Keep in mind that the applicable punishment depends upon the seriousness of the underlying criminal offense. For instance, if we are talking about prostitution, which typically constitutes a second-degree misdemeanor, the solicitation of a prostitute is a second-degree felony that carries with it a penalty of up to 60 days in jail and a monetary fine not to exceed $500.

However, if we are talking about a more serious underlying crime, the associated punishment will be more severe. For example, if we are talking about second-degree murder, which constitutes a first-degree felony, the criminal attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to do same qualifies as a second-degree felony, which is associated with a fifteen-year prison term and a maximum $10,000 monetary fine.

Contact Musca Law Today to Learn More About Your Legal Rights and Options

If you or someone you know is being charged with criminal attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy in Florida, it is critical to consult with a skilled Florida Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as you are able. At Musca Law, our experienced and highly knowledgeable Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys have more than 150 years of collective legal experience representing those facing criminal charges located throughout the State of Florida.

Contact us today at (888) 484-5057 to learn more about your legal rights, interests, and options, including the defenses that may apply to your case. We look forward to making a difference for you.

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