UCMJ Article 82: Solicitation
Any Service Member of the United States military that solicits or advises another person or persons to commit a crime may face charges under Article 82 of the UCMJ: Solicitation. Solicitation is an instantaneous offense that requires the prosecution to prove only that you had a desire to see the crime committed.
Solicitation may seem harmless, but it carries with it some extremely harsh realities should you be convicted:
- You may not have taken part in the crime itself, but you could be punished in equal measure to the individual or individuals whose actions broke the law.
- The person or persons charged with committing the crime may be offered a better plea deal by ratting you out to law enforcement. Expect a tough battle where multiple witnesses claim you advised them to commit a crime. We typically do not represent snitches.
- Maximum sentencing for any of the four crimes expressly stated under Article 82 is harsh. You could face a dishonorable discharge, loss of all pay and significant incarceration.
Solicitation could end your military career and land you in jail. Never assume you’ll be found Not Guilty until you’ve spoken with defense attorneys experienced in Article 82 offense.
Defining the Elements of Article 82
Article 82 is comprised of three elements which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by prosecutors to convict you of the crime:
That the accused solicited or advised a person or persons to commit any of the four offenses named in Article 82. These include: solicitation to desert, solicitation to mutiny, solicitation to commit an act of misbehavior before the enemy and solicitation to commit sedition.
That the accused solicited the advice with the intent of having the other person or persons commit the act.
That the offense solicited or advised was either attempted or committed due to the solicitations of the accused.
Fighting Back Against an Article 82
Charges of solicitation are often fought on the playing field of witness testimony and speculation of intent. Bilecki Law Group understand solicitation cases and we know the prosecution’s strategies inside and out.
Here are just a few of the options Bilecki Law Group has at its disposal to fight back against charges of solicitation:
- One may be convicted of sedition based solely on the testimony of a single witness. A defense team with excellent cross-examination skills can show that witness as unreliable and dishonest.
- Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended for the offense to be committed. Attacking the credibility of the government witnesses and attacking the evidence of intent may be enough to prove you had no intention of committing a crime.
- Even if the evidence is piled up against you, we can limit the damage based on a number of factors, such as whether a crime was even committed, the extent of the damage of said crime and the type of offense.
It is a terrible thing to be dishonorably discharged and tossed in prison for a crime you didn’t commit. One call to Bilecki Law Group is all it takes to set the record straight
Accusations of solicitation to commit a crime may incur sentences of up to ten years in prison depending on the type of crime and your connection to it. Never put your freedom in the hands of an inexperienced defense attorney with so much on the line.
Bilecki Law Group will help you fight back against charges under Article 82 UCMJ: Solicitation
Can You Be Charged with Same Crime That You Solicited Someone Else to Commit?
Yes. You may be charged with the offense that you solicited, although you’ll face a separate trial entirely.
The government may believe it has enough evidence to claim you aided or abetted the criminal act with more than just advice. Under these circumstances, you could be facing multiple charges and exponentially harsher sentencing.
You should always be aware of the government’s endgame in your case – a conviction. If you want to prevent that from happening, hiring an experienced court-martial lawyer is the best place to start.
Can I Be Charged with Solicitation Just by Talking to Someone?
Yes. Solicitation is often charged as an attempt at a crime, meaning no crime must be committed to be found guilty. Simply advising someone to commit a crime by word of mouth is enough to face charges of solicitation.
With that said, some action must be taken by the individual or individuals solicited to warrant charges of solicitation. According to the Manual for Court Martial, “they either must make an attempt at a crime or commit the crime itself. It is not necessary that the person or persons solicited or advised agree to act upon the solicitation or advice.”
What Is an Instantaneous Offense?
Solicitation is considered an instantaneous offense, meaning that a service member has broken the law regardless of whether or not the advice was acted upon. Most crimes of the UCMJ require an overt action to be considered a crime. Solicitation is not one of them.
What Is the Maximum Possible Punishment for Article 82?
Maximum punishment for solicitation varies wildly based on a number of factors:
- Did the individual who received the solicitation commit a crime?
- If the individual did commit a crime, what articles of the UCMJ were broken?
It’s possible to face solicitation charges for any of the four listed crimes under Article 82 plus violations listed under article 134. However, crimes of desertion, mutiny, misbehavior before an enemy and sedition are the crimes explicitly stated by Article 82.
- Maximum possible sentencing for solicitation to desert is a dishonorable discharge, reduction to E-1, total forfeiture of pay and allowances and up to 3 years in prison.
- Maximum possible sentencing for solicitation to commit mutiny is a dishonorable discharge, reduction to E-1, total forfeiture of pay and allowances and up to 10 years in prison.
- Maximum possible sentencing for solicitation of misbehavior before an enemy is a dishonorable discharge, reduction to E-1, total forfeiture of pay and allowances and up to 10 years in prison.
- Maximum possible sentencing for solicitation to commit sedition is a dishonorable discharge, reduction to E-1, total forfeiture of pay and allowances and up to 10 years in prison.