What Are the Best Defenses Against Computer Crimes?

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We live in a world of booming technology. With the benefits that the advancement of technology brings, there are detrimental effects as well. Computer crimes are now common and technology is used to commit a variety of illegal activities. Read on and speak with a Mercer County criminal defense lawyer to discuss the best defenses against computer crime charges.

What Are Some Examples of Computer Crimes?

Computers can be used for a variety of crimes. Technology can be used to hack into someone else’s computer, access unauthorized information, find private passwords, access banking information, etc. Some examples of computer crimes that someone can be convicted of include the following.

  • Phishing
  • Unlawfully accessing stored communications
  • Cyberstalking
  • Extortion
  • Fraud
  • Spread of malware
  • Counterfeiting
  • Identity theft
  • Credit card fraud
  • Bank or wire fraud

What Are the Penalties for Computer Crimes?

If you are convicted of any of the above computer crimes you could face serious penalties. The extent of your consequences will depend on the specific circumstances of your situation. A court will generally consider the severity of the crime, the monetary value of the information that was stolen, your prior criminal history, and more when deciding how severe your penalties will be.

In New Jersey, the following is a general guideline of penalties that may be imposed on someone convicted of various computer crimes.

Fourth-degree offense:

  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • Imprisonment of up to 18 months

Third-degree offense:

  • Fines of up to $15,000
  • Imprisonment of 3 to 5 years

Second-degree offense:

  • Fines of up to $150,000
  • Imprisonment of 5 to 10 years

First-degree offense:

  • Fines of up to $200,000
  • Imprisonment of 10 to 20 years

You might also face probation, mandatory community service, and other penalties. The true extent of your sentencing may be more or less severe depending on the details of your case.

What Defenses Can I Use When Facing Charges?

Cybercrimes are a serious issue, but with the help of an experienced lawyer, you may be able to have your charges reduced or dismissed. With a strong defensive strategy and a skilled attorney, anything can happen. Below are some of the best defenses available for a computer crime charge.

Lack of evidence: The prosecution bears the burden of proof in your case. You and your lawyer do not have to prove your innocence to the court, the prosecutor has to prove your guilt. If they do not have sufficient evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt you may be found not guilty. Your attorney can emphasize the gaps in their argument and poke holes in their case.

Lack of intent: Anyone who types on a keyboard regularly is bound to hit the wrong key every once in a while. It is entirely possible that you committed a crime, for example, the spread of malware, by a slip of your finger. If you can prove that you did not intend to commit the crime and it was an accident, a court may be more lenient with your sentencing.

Constitutional rights violation: The police or other law enforcement may have seized your computer without first obtaining a warrant. If your constitutional rights were violated by an illegal seizure of property, any evidence that was obtained from your computer may be inadmissible in a court of law.

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