With the advent of computer technology invading nearly every aspect of modern life, it has become a tool for the commission of crimes. This has led to the modern term “cybercrime,” referring to any crime committed via the internet, through computer technology, or using computers. These crime can range from stealing another’s identity through phishing scams to cyberbullying via one’s smartphone or hacking into large networks. Both state and the federal governments have enacted laws prohibiting various types of crimes that rely on computers or the internet to be accomplished. How you are charged in any cybercrime instance will depend on the nature of the crime, the extent of any damage done, and whether you have previous offenses.
Examples of cyber crimes include but are not limited to the following:
- Identity theft, through internet means, in order to use the victim’s personal information for financial gain or benefits, often done through phishing or spoofing, designed to gain passwords, usernames, social security numbers, credit card numbers, and more
- Computer or system hacking that can include planting viruses and malware into other’s systems, cause other damage, or done for the purpose of stealing data
- Child pornography, downloading and/or distribution
- Cyberbullying which can involve stalking and intimidation of another via texts, emails, or done on social media
- Solicitation or luring of minors over the internet, done through chat rooms and via other means
- Sexting that involves sending explicitly sexual images or photos of someone to others
- Piracy that includes the theft of others’ intellectual property, including media such as music, movies, books, and more
- Various types of fraud such as wire fraud, business email compromise, ransomware, and more
- Work from home scams, lottery fraud, online shopping scams
Potential Penalties for Cybercrimes
Penalties will depend on whether you are charged with a state or federal crime. Some crimes involving the internet can have minor consequences. These would include misdemeanor crimes that may carry fines of up to $1,000 and a few months up to a year in jail.
Federal crimes involving serious felonies, such as those involving child pornography or serious data breaches can be punishable by fines of up to $100,000 and prison terms of up to 20 years or more. You may also face a lengthy probation term in which you will be subject to various conditions handed down by the court.
In cases where victims have suffered monetary damage, you may be ordered to provide restitution to the victims.
An example of penalties associated with a cybercrime is that of cyberbullying in Massachusetts, which is a crime that can be charged to both minors and adults. It is considered a stalking and harassment crime that, in a first offense, can lead to misdemeanor charges involving fines and community service. Repeat offenses or instances where it has led to serious damages such as the injury or death of a victim can lead to felony charges.
Facing Cybercrime Charges?
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges for an internet or cybercrime, it is vital that you seek defense representation that you can trust. At Martin G. Weinberg Attorney at Law, you can bring your case to a well-respected criminal defender with over four decades of legal experience at both the state and federal level. Attorney Weinberg represents clients across the nation and is prepared to provide you with the excellent legal service for which he is known.
Contact our firm at (617) 227-3700 to schedule a consultation about your case today.