Joseph Jordan is a military defense attorney who aggressively represents servicemembers in courts martial. He is a former Army Judge Advocate. He has successfully defended servicemembers in numerous courts martial against solicitation charges.
Soliciting another to commit an offense is a violation of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). To convict you of solicitation, the prosecutor must prove that you (1) wrongfully solicited or advised another to commit a specific criminal offense by certain actions or conduct; (2) that you specifically intended for the other individual to commit the offense solicited; and (3) that that your conduct was service discrediting or prejudicial to good order and discipline in the armed forces.
Soliciting or advising another to commit a crime is a statement or act that is a serious inducement, recommendation or suggestion to commit a crime. The person who is solicited needs to know that the solicited act is a crime.
The solicited crime does not need to be committed or completed for someone to be guilty of solicitation. However, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person soliciting the crime intended for every element of the crime to be committed. Statements made in jest do not constitute solicitation since the accused could not have had the intent for the crime to be committed.
The prosecutor must also prove that the conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline, which means that the adultery had an obvious and measurable effect on morale, discipline, or unit cohesion or had a detrimental impact on the authority or esteem of a service member. Alternately, the prosecutor must prove that the adultery was service discrediting, meaning that because of the open and notorious nature of the allegation, it lowered the service in the public esteem, brought the service into disrepute or made it subject to public ridicule.
Solicitation is a very serious charge. Convictions can result in a dishonorable discharge, reduction to E-1 and up to 5 years in prison. A conviction for solicitation to commit espionage can result in life in prison without parole.
If you have been accused of solicitation, you need to contact an experienced military defense lawyer before you speak to law enforcement or your command.