In recent years, a portion of law enforcement has been solely dedicated to identifying internet crimes, or cybercrimes, and bringing charges against alleged offenders. The underlying issue of internet crime cases is the difficulty of discovering who actually partook in the crime. While this might seem like it would mean it was more difficult for prosecutors to bring charges against someone for an internet crime, it usually means people are more likely to be unjustly accused of such a crime.
Some of the most common charges filed for internet crimes are:
- Distribution, possession, or creation of child pornography: Crimes involving any visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexual actions or illicit behaviors.
- Identity theft: Posing as someone else over the internet, usually to gain some sort of benefit or favor.
- Credit card fraud: A form of identity theft specifically aimed at making online purchases using the credit card of another party without permission.
- Sale of counterfeit goods: Using online forums to sell illegal goods and services.
- Virus distribution: Disseminating destructive software or coding in a way that third party users will be “infected.”
- Hacking: Directly targeting another computer through network connections to destroy, alter, or steal its data.
Defending Yourself from Internet Crime Charges
Although internet crimes are still relatively new, there are many traditional methods of criminal defense that can apply to them. However, it is important to acknowledge that every criminal defense case is different from the next due to the specific details that comprise each case. A defense that might be perfect for one internet crime case could not apply to another, even when similarities in circumstances can be noted.
Potential defenses to use in an internet crime case can include:
- Mistaken identity: Every charge must only be brought against the person who violated the law. It is not uncommon for internet crimes charges to be rooted in cases of mistaken identity. Users on the internet, by default, are shrouded in anonymity. Even if investigators can trace an internet crime back to a specific computer, determining with certainty that a certain user carried out the crime can be another hurdle. You may wish to use it to your advantage in your defense case.
- Lack of criminal intent: In many criminal cases, the prosecution will struggle to secure a conviction when the defendant had no intent to break the law. This defense may be applicable to your internet crime case as well. For example, if you shared a file with a virus but did not know the virus was hidden in the file, then you should not be held accountable for any damage that virus may have caused.
- No actual damages: On the other hand, crimes that do not cause any measureable harm are hard to prosecute as well. Imagine a scenario in which you did disseminate a virus to the computers of others, but all it did was cause an image of a flower to appear on the screen before deleting itself. Proving that no real harm was caused to others might be enough to challenge the charges outright.
Turn to a Criminal Defender for More Support
Not sure where or how to start your internet crime defense case? You can let our Santa Rosa criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. do it for you. With a history of positive case results secured in intricate criminal cases, you can count on our team to stand before the opposition and the court.
Call (707) 418-5352 to get a free initial consultation with our team.