What Is a Computer Crime?
Computer crimes are crimes that are committed with the help of a computer. Laws about computer crimes became necessary in the late 80s when computers became very popular all over the world. The first set of laws that deal with crimes committed with computers happened in 1986. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act was passed to deal with these new crimes. As computer technology improved, so did the ways criminals could use computers to commit crimes. This led to several amendments to the Act. Each time new types of computer crime are discovered, more amendments will be necessary. If you are facing federal criminal charges, then make sure that you discuss your case with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney right away.
What Are the Potential Penalties for Federal Computer Crimes?
If you are convicted of a federal computer crime, then the punishment can vary depending on the facts and circumstances of your case. You could get up to 10 years in prison for some crimes and 20 years for a second offense. Computer crimes are considered white-collar crimes, so the punishment is generally not as severe as a violent crime or crime that involves drugs. Even so, a conviction for a computer crime can result in serious penalties, including fines, probation, or other punishments as deemed appropriate.
What Are the Types of Computer Crime?
There are many types of computer crimes. One area of federal computer crime law is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act found at 18 USC 1030. There are seven major kinds of federal computer crimes under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; they are:
- Obtaining national security information
- Accessing a computer and obtaining information
- Trespassing in a government computer
- Accessing a computer to defraud & obtain value
- Intentionally damaging by knowing transmission
- Recklessly damaging by intentional access
- Negligently causing damage & loss by intentional access
- Trafficking in passwords
- Extortion involving computers
Other special laws that outlaw wiretapping can be found at 18 USC 2511 within the Wiretap Act. The laws within this section include:
- Intercepting a communication
- Disclosing an intercepted communication
- Using an intercepted communication
There are many different computer crimes that are illegal under state and federal law. These crimes can include activities like identity theft, wire fraud, or interfering with communication. If you are accused of any of these crimes, you could face federal criminal charges. To be charged with a federal crime, the activity must take place within a certain area or on federal property. If someone commits a crime using a computer and the crime crosses state lines, then they can be charged with a federal crime. If the crime doesn't meet the federal guidelines, then it can be charged and prosecuted under state law if a state law directly applies to the alleged act.
What Are Some Examples of Defenses to Computer Crime?
There are several defenses that can be available for a computer crime charge. Some of the major defenses to a computer crime include:
- Lack of intent
- Illegally obtained evidence
- False accusation
If you are facing federal or state computer crime charges, then one of the above defenses might help you. Your behavior online can result in serious charges, so it is important to understand how these defenses can help you. Each case is unique, so make sure that you have your case professionally evaluated by an experienced federal criminal defense attorney to see what your best defenses are.
In What Court Will Your Case Be Heard?
All federal criminal cases are processed in specified federal district courts. There is one federal District Court in New Jersey. If you have a federal criminal case in New Jersey, then it will be heard in a courthouse in the New Jersey District Court.
If you lose your criminal case in a federal district court in New Jersey, then you have the ability to appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. This is the highest court that you can appeal to, except for the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will only hear a case if they choose to. If the Supreme Court decides to hear your case, they must grant “certiorari.” The Supreme Court will only grant certiorari if the case is of national concern or raises an important issue that the Supreme Court wants to weigh in on.
How Hiring an Experienced Attorney Can Help
If you are facing a federal criminal charge, then it is critical to have an experienced attorney who knows the federal criminal system. An experienced attorney can help evaluate your case and help you build the most appropriate defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you decide if it is best to take your case to a trial or work out a resolution to avoid having a trial if that is your wish.
If you want to make a deal in your case, then an attorney can help you negotiate that deal and give you their opinion on whether you should take the deal. Before making any decisions in your case, make sure you understand everything about the case you have and what can happen to you if you are convicted. If you have legal questions, then contact us at The Lento Law Firm today so we can help!
Why Hiring Lento Law Is the Right Choice
If you are being investigated or prosecuted federally for a computer crime, then it is important to speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney right away. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped people defend countless criminal charges in several jurisdictions. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring Lento Law is the right choice to help defend your federal criminal case.