When it comes to crime and punishment, the internet is fast becoming the most important legal frontier. The number of people both victimized by cybercriminals and the number of people convicted of cybercrime has skyrocketed in recent years, as state and federal authorities continue to play catch-up and update the laws on their books.
Although cybercrime was once considered a niche area of legal defence, it is fast becoming the norm, rather than the exception. We are approaching a tipping point in which the majority of crimes and prosecutions will involve the actual and alleged breaking of laws via the internet.
If you have been accused of committing online crimes, it is absolutely essential that you know what your options are. With that in mind, read on the find out exactly what you need to know about defending your rights in a cybercrime case.
1. Understand the Laws
If you have been accused of a felony offence due to your internet activity, it pays to know exactly where you stand. It is important to point out that the current legislation governing internet crimes in the US is a complicated and contradictory patchwork. Different states have vastly different laws governing illicit internet use.
A cybercrime in Ohio may not be illegal at all in, say New Jersey (online gambling laws are an example of this). Meanwhile, federal cybercrimes, such as online corporate espionage or hacking of a government database, tend to carry extremely tough penalties, with life sentences not being unheard of.
Conversely, some cybercrimes, such as improper data protection, will only carry a penalty of a fine or even just a written warning. Before Googling “criminal attorney near me”, always do your best to determine how severe an alleged crime actually is in the eyes of the law.
2. Types of Cybercrime
There are many types of crimes that could be described as cybercrimes in the US. The following categories of cybercrime all have laws related to them across the US. These are:
- Email and internet fraud: this is the use of online communication to attempt to defraud an individual, group, or organization with malicious intent.
- Solicitation of a minor: this is one of the most serious online crimes you can possibly commit. If you are accused of this crime, you must consult an online solicitation attorney immediately.
- Cyberstalking: this is the use of online tools to commit stalking and harassment of another person.
- Identity theft: this is an attempt to maliciously impersonate another individual online.
- Prohibited content: this is the viewing, sharing, uploading, and downloading of any banned content.
All of these crimes are incredibly serious and can carry lengthy prison sentences, as well as multi-million-dollar fines.
Stay on Top of the Trends That Matter
Understanding when to call a legal defence is crucial. Laws are changing constantly, so staying on top of legal trends is an absolute must for any engaged citizen. Make sure to consult our expertly-curated Education section to stay on top of the trends that really matter.
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