A cyber crime, or Internet crime, is a type a white collar crime that is either committed by using the Internet, or is a crime that is targeted at a computer itself. This type of crime is one of the fastest growing areas of white collar crime in the United States.
A crime committed by using the Internet may carry not only a cyber crime charge, but also charges the specific criminal act that was carried out. For example, a person may be accused of using a stolen credit card to purchase goods on a shopping website over the internet. In this case the suspect could be charged with committing a computer crime, but also would likely be charged with credit card fraud.
The crime of targeting a computer itself, or the data it contains, is prohibited by both state and federal law. California law (Penal Code 502) prohibits “hacking,” which is defined as unauthorized access, damage, tampering or interference with a lawfully created data system.” The scope of the statute includes accessing data or using a specific computer or terminal without being authorized to do so. The law extends to the alteration or destroying of data or systems of data, and creating malicious programs like viruses and Trojan horses.
Internet crimes encompass, but are not limited to:
- Identity Theft
- Auction Fraud
- Credit Card Fraud
- Piracy/Intellectual Property Rights
- Copyright Infringement
- Hacking/Computer Intrusion
- Investment Fraud
- Financial Theft
- Business Fraud
- Child Pornography
Internet Crime Penalties
In state court Internet or cyber crimes can be charged as a misdemeanor, carrying a sentence of up to one year in jail, or as a felony, potentially resulting in up to a three-year prison term. In federal court the penalties for some types of computer-related crimes can result in prison sentences of as much as 20 years.
How Our Law Offices Can Defend You Against a Cyber Crime
Orange County criminal defense attorney David A. Stein has successfully represented hundreds of individuals facing criminal charges ranging from misdemeanors to serious felonies. He has extensive experience in successfully defending his clients charged with a wide variety of computer and Internet crimes.
Mr. Stein ‘s legal expertise, and his relationships with judges and prosecutors, has resulted in dismissals or reduction of charges for his clients.
He will explain your options, tell you what to expect when faced with a cyber crime charge and advise you of the best course of action. An experienced attorney can help you avoid excessive or unjust penalties that can jeopardize your future. Before talking to law enforcement, call for a no-cost consultation about your case: (949) 445-0040.
The Law Office of David A. Stein is located in Irvine. We are available to our clients 7 days a week.