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San Francisco Criminal Defense Lawyers Explain Cyber Crimes

March 21, 2024

San Francisco Criminal Defense Lawyers Explain Cyber Crimes

The internet has become a huge part of our lives. We use it for everything – communicating with friends, shopping, banking, entertainment, and more. But with the good comes the bad. As we’ve become more dependent on the internet, cybercriminals have found new ways to take advantage of people online.

That’s why cyber crimes have exploded in recent years. Cyber crimes are illegal activities committed on the internet, such as hacking, identity theft, fraud, and distributing child pornography. These high-tech crimes can be just as harmful as traditional offenses. And they often carry harsh punishments.

If you’ve been accused of a cyber crime in San Francisco, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Cyber crime laws can be complex. An attorney who specializes in internet offenses will understand the technical details involved. They’ll also know how to build a strong defense to fight the charges.

Keep reading to learn more about common cyber crimes and defenses from San Francisco criminal lawyers.

Types of Cyber Crimes

There are many state and federal laws related to cyber security and online activity. Here are some of the most common cyber crimes defendants face:

Computer Hacking

Hacking refers to illegally accessing a computer, network, or electronic database. For example, hacking occurs when someone breaks into an email account or social media profile without authorization. Hacking can also include things like:

  • Gaining access to private networks or servers
  • Installing malware or spyware on someone’s device
  • Stealing corporate data or trade secrets

Penalties for hacking and related offenses are severe. Under 18 U.S.C. § 1030, a conviction can result in up to 20 years in prison. The law also allows a civil cause of action against hackers for damages like lost revenue.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal or financial information to commit fraud. For instance, a criminal may open a credit card in your name or gain access to your bank account. California has specific laws prohibiting identity theft and identity fraud.

Penalties under state law can include up to 3 years imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000. Federal charges may also apply depending on the circumstances.

Online Harassment and Cyberstalking

Using electronic communications to harass, threaten, or intimidate someone can lead to criminal charges. For example, repeatedly sending abusive messages through texts, emails, or social media constitutes cyber harassment. Cyberstalking involves a more severe pattern of threatening behavior conducted online.

In California, penalties for stalking and criminal threats can include up to 3 years imprisonment. Defendants may also face restraining orders and other court-ordered restrictions.

Child Pornography

Federal and state law prohibit the possession, distribution, and production of child pornography. Defendants face severe consequences for sex crimes involving minors. Possession of child pornography carries up to 1 year in county jail under California law. But federal penalties can extend up to 10 years imprisonment.

The punishments are even greater for distributing and producing child pornography. Defendants also face sex offender registration requirements if convicted.

Defenses to Cyber Crime Charges

Fighting cyber crime allegations requires an aggressive legal strategy. Here are some of the main defenses criminal lawyers use:

Illegal Search and Seizure

Like physical spaces, citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy online. This means the government needs a warrant to search your electronic devices or online accounts. Evidence obtained without a warrant may be suppressed under the Fourth Amendment.

If police confiscated your computer or breached your privacy rights, an experienced lawyer can challenge the search. This may result in charges being dismissed due to lack of evidence.

Unauthorized Computer Access

Hacking charges often assume the defendant accessed a computer or network without approval. But in many cases, the user had permission to log-in through shared passwords or credentials.

Your lawyer can argue you had an honest belief that access was authorized. This may defeat criminal intent requirements for hacking and related offenses.

Possession vs. Distribution

Mere possession of illegal content may warrant a lesser punishment than distributing it online. Your attorney can argue you downloaded material accidentally or were unaware it was on your device.

This may help mitigate penalties for child pornography, copyright violations, and other cyber offenses involving possession.

Entrapment

Entrapment occurs when police coerce you into committing a crime you otherwise wouldn’t. With cyber crimes, officers sometimes pose as minors or other victims online.

Your lawyer can argue the undercover sting operation constituted improper entrapment. If successful, this defense may lead to an acquittal.

Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Cyber Case

Facing cyber crime charges isn’t easy. But an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help protect your rights and future. Be sure to choose an attorney who:

  • Focuses specifically on cyber offenses like hacking, identity theft, and child pornography
  • Regularly handles cases in local state and federal courts
  • Has a track record of positive case results
  • Will take the time to understand the technical details involved
  • Will conduct a thorough independent investigation of your case

Don’t leave your fate in the hands of an inexperienced lawyer. The consequences are too high. Contact an established firm that knows how to build a strong defense against cyber allegations.

With an aggressive legal strategy, many cyber charges can be reduced or dismissed. But you need knowledgeable counsel to protect your rights and future.

The attorneys at [Firm Name] have extensive experience defending complex cyber crime cases in San Francisco and surrounding areas. We understand these highly-technical offenses and the strategies that work. Contact us for a free case review and to discuss your defense options.

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Todd Spodek

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RALPH P. FRANCHO, JR

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JEREMY FEIGENBAUM

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ELIZABETH GARVEY

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CLAIRE BANKS

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RAJESH BARUA

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CHAD LEWIN

Of-Counsel

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