Computers have only been widely used for the last half a century and the internet has been popular for less than half that time, but even so, an internet crime attorney will tell you the number of ways a person can violate the law with a computer and an internet connection seem to grow by the day. These crimes are very complex and investigating them involves intricate, detailed work on behalf of the police. As a result, fighting the charges requires a knowledgeable lawyer with experience fighting cyber crime charges.
Types of Cyber Crime Charges
There are a wide array of crimes that can be performed on a computer, ranging from traditional crimes (such as possession of child pornography, embezzlement, attempting to meet a minor for sex, making criminal threats, credit card fraud, identity theft and stalking) to modern crimes that only exist due to technology (e.g., hacking, swatting, online child molestation, or accessing a computer without permission).
In some cases, people can commit crimes using their computers without even meaning to; in one instance, for example, a man was even charged with destroying evidence for deleting his browser history, even though he didn’t actually commit any other crime. In other cases, a crime might not be normally be committed using technology, but they are still obviously illegal, like the time teens tried to crowdfund ammunition for a school shooting.
Investigating Computer Crime Charges
Many people wrongly assume the activities they perform on a computer and on the internet are private and anonymous, particularly if they used a private browser while online, but your identity is not completely secret, even with a private browser. Unfortunately, the more difficult it is to uncover evidence for a computer crime, the more likely it is that someone will be wrongly accused of wrongdoing even for something as serious as child pornography.
While an IP address alone isn’t enough to secure a conviction, it is enough to obtain a search warrant in many cases. Even if you are use a TOR or other ultra secure method to hide your identity, groups like the FBI can even track you down using malware added to darkweb sites.
If you are suspected of committing a cyber crime on the computer or on the internet and the police obtain a warrant, they may seize the hard drive on your computer to find evidence against you. Do not be fooled into thinking that deleting items from your hard drive will protect you -in fact, this could result in your having charges of destroying evidence filed against you. Regardless of what actions you take, police investigators can and will uncover previously deleted material from your system. They can also subpoena the records from your internet provider to determine your identity.
The police often use undercover officers or decoys to communicate online with suspects and develop an incriminating dialogue. They even set up meetings for the suspect to meet a child then arrest the suspect when they show up. The police may also call you if they suspect you of a computer or internet crime. If you receive a call like this, immediately call a computer crime attorney to help protect your rights.
Fighting Computer Crime Charges
Specific charges and penalties for crimes committed with computers and other forms of technology will vary based on the specific details of the incident. Whatever crime you have been accused of committing on your computer though, cyber crimes attorney Peter M. Liss can help you fight the charges by providing a reasonable doubt to your guilt. The right defense for a computer crime case will vary greatly depending on the specifics of your case, such as the charge and the investigation methods used.
Cyber crime investigations and trials are exceptionally complex and require a lot of evidence, which means anyone fighting these charges will need an experienced and highly knowledgeable internet crimes attorney to challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution. If the police have seized evidence from you with or without a warrant, your lawyer can examine their actions and determine whether the search and seizure was legal. In cases where everything was done by the book and the evidence is fairly compelling, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea bargain to minimize the charges against you and the sentence you may receive.
If you have been accused of breaking the law on a computer, please call Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to discuss how to best defend yourself against these serious charges.
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