Almost all of us know of someone who has been the victim of some sort of fraudulent scheme. Some of us have even been the victim ourselves. As technology has advanced, online scams have become more prevalent. Today’s hackers have increased access to private and confidential information. Misappropriating this information is only a few clicks away; it may be disguised in a spam email; it may be caused by the lack of encryption; or it may be as easy as guessing a non-secure password after having obtained account information.
As cyber-crimes have increased, so too have questions about the legal status of certain online activities. Even as hackers have become more sophisticated in their ability to access of personal and sensitive data, legislatures have criminalized conduct that is less obviously intended to cause financial or personal harm. In addition, crimes such as cyber stalking have loose definitions that allow prosecutors to fit once acceptable private conduct within the definition of a criminal statute.
Cyber-Crimes Convictions Can Result in Serious Consequences
The ever expanding definition of cyber-crimes has led to a situation in which people who have no idea that they are doing anything wrong can very realistically be accused of serious criminal misconduct. In many cases, cyber-crime convictions can result in extremely severe criminal penalties, including jail time, probation, fines, restitution, or even lifetime registration as a sex offender. Some of the more common cyber-crimes of which people are accused in New Jersey include the following:
- Possession or distribution of child pornography
- Identity theft
- Wire fraud
- Credit card fraud
Fortunately for people accused of these and other cyber-crimes, a simple accusation is not enough to secure a conviction. There are often several defenses that an attorney may be able to raise. For example, some crimes require that the prosecution show that the accused had a formed the intent to commit the crime – if they are unable to do so, it may result in an acquittal or your case being dismissed. Similarly, in some cases, an overzealous prosecutor may try and stretch the meaning of a criminal statute to cover online behavior that is in fact protected by the 1st Amendment right of free speech. An experienced lawyer will be able to review your case and determine whether these or any other defenses apply.
Contact a New Jersey Cyber-Crime Attorney Today
If you have been accused of a cyber-crime, you should speak with an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with Edward Murachanian, call our office today at 732-477-3030 or send us an email through our online contact form.