Federal Internet or Computer Crimes
Technology has evolved to the point that people can stay connected with virtually anyone, anywhere in the world. This has opened up the possibility for criminals to act under the shield of the Internet, computer, or any of a myriad of electronic devices. With just a few clicks of the mouse, one can access detailed information about anyone. It is this kind of ready access to information that can land people in hot water with the federal government. The laws related Internet and computer crimes are complex and constantly changing. If you find yourself accused of such a crime, you must take it seriously as the penalties can be quite harsh. This is why you will want to have a professional and experienced trial attorney working on your case from the beginning.
Common Types of Cases
The FBI is typically the federal agency responsible for pursuing Internet and computer related criminal cases. They will vigorously pursue any person who they believe to be using the Internet to commit any manner of crime. With the spike in technology, such investigations and leveled accusations have increased dramatically across the country in recent years. At the current time, most of these cases fall into one of three categories.
- Identity Theft – As its name implies, this is a charge leveled against a person who is accused of taking on the identity of another individual. If the Internet was used to gather this information about another person, then a federal computer related crime is believed to have taken place.
- Peer to Peer Networks Used in an Illegal Fashion – Peer to Peer networks have grown in popularity in recent years. They are seen as a way of sharing files over the Internet in a quick and efficient manner. Many of these networks are used to pass illegal information and files such as copyrighted files, child pornography, and obscene images. Computer hacking would also fall under this category of Internet and computer crime.
- Viruses and Malware – If you have ever been impacted by a virus or malware on your computer, then you are well aware of the frustration and havoc that can result. If you are believed to have been the culprit of such activity, then you can be accused of this federal crime. Such viruses and malware may be useful in gathering personal information that can then be used for financial gain. Some individuals will request payment before they remove the virus from the affected computer.
These are not the only possible cases related to federal crimes involving the Internet or computer, but it does cover the basics. It is important to remember that a conviction for any of these crimes can result in jail time and hefty fines. This may result in the breakup of personal relationships, financial hardship, loss of employment, and so much more. In some cases, a conviction can prevent you from ever again being able to access the Internet.
It is important to contact a lawyer early on in the process so that a vigorous defense against these charges can be lodged. There are many possible explanations as to why you may have become the center of an FBI investigation.
- Impersonation – There are instances where a criminal has impersonated another individual to access illegal information. This is especially known to occur in instances of identity theft. It as if you have been cloned. The FBI may mistakingly believe it was you accessing the information when it was actually somebody else.
- Unauthorized Access – Another person may have used your computer or Internet access without your permission. If you can prove this, the charges may be shown to be without merit.
- Unknowingly Accessing Illegal Information – You might accidentally access information and send out a virus. You had no idea that you were doing this until the charges were brought against you. Again, a lawyer can help mount your defense in this area.
These are just a few of the possible defenses that can be considered in this type of federal case. It is important to take the charges seriously. It is also important to begin mounting your defense as quickly as possible in order to get this behind you.