When most people hear of Internet crimes, they think of criminals hacking into online banking systems, identity theft, and other types of patently illegal conduct. There are other types of Internet crimes, however, and sometimes people do not even realize that their online activities and conduct are illegal.
If you, your child, or someone else in your household has been accused of cybercrimes, you need a skilled attorney defending your case. Contact an Internet crimes attorney at Vinas & Graham, PLLC, to schedule a consultation. Cybercrime charges do not always end in criminal convictions, especially when you have a good defense and aggressive representation.
Computer Crimes Laws
Texas computer crime laws outline the types of computer conduct and activity that can be prosecuted in state courts. Some of these laws overlap with federal cybercrime laws. Federal Internet crime cases are typically investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by United States Attorneys.
Cases can be investigated and prosecuted at both state and federal levels, depending on case circumstances. Both federal and state convictions can result in significant punishments and penalties. When facing charges or potential charges, it is critical to find a legal advocate who knows cybercrime laws and is experienced in handling federal and state criminal matters.
Pirating and file sharing are common types of electronic theft. Internet users are often surprised to learn that it is illegal to burn and download protected music and movies, and they can face significant consequences if prosecuted. Sharing electronic files online is very common, and sharing files without permission is a punishable crime.
Digital Copyright Circumvention
The act of disabling or otherwise circumventing an electronic copyright control online is illegal in and of itself. If an electronic copyright control is circumvented, it does not matter if actual copyright infringement occurred or not.
Impersonating another person online, sometimes known as ‘catfishing,’ can also lead to criminal charges. To be convicted for online impersonation, prosecutors must prove that you intended to harm, threaten, intimidate, or defraud someone.
Unauthorized access means that you accessed online accounts, networks, or computers without permission. See below for some examples of unauthorized access.
- Using someone’s password to log into an account, such as Facebook or email, without that person’s permission.
- Using someone’s computer with permission, but accessing files and information on the computer without permission.
- Using someone else’s Wi-Fi without permission. This regularly happens when people sit outside of a coffee shop or business to use the company Wi-Fi that is provided for customer use only.
Online Communications With A Minor
Adults may communicate with minors online, but they are prohibited from communicating with minors in a sexually explicit manner. They are also prohibited from sending sexually explicit material to minors. Furthermore, it is illegal for minors to ‘sext’ sexually explicit photos of themselves to other people.
Harassing, bullying, and stalking people online is criminal behavior. Both minors and adults may be charged with crimes for causing harm to others through online social media platforms, emails, messaging, and chats.
Internet Crimes Defenses
Common defenses to Internet crimes allegations include the following:
- Lack of intent – In many types of Internet crimes, prosecutors must prove that the defendant intended to commit the crime. Defense attorneys will provide evidence that the defendant did not intend, for example, to download illegal materials or share files.
- Freedom of speech – Defendants may claim that the beliefs and opinions they share online are protected by free speech.
- The activity does not amount to harassment – Just because someone may find particular online activity to be offensive, does not mean that the activity amounts to harassment. Defendants will often argue this point when accused of online harassment.
- Permission – Defendants accused of unauthorized access frequently argue that they had permission to use someone else’s computer or permission to access certain data and information.
- Someone else is guilty – Defendants will sometimes admit that illegal activity occurred, but that someone else was responsible for it. For example, if you have illegal material downloaded on your computer and other people use your computer, you may argue that someone else downloaded that material.
Internet Crimes Attorney
If you have been charged with or believe you are under investigation for Internet crimes, contact an attorney at Vinas & Graham, PLLC, to discuss your case. Cybercrime convictions can result in severe consequences with long-term impacts.
Our attorneys will provide you with aggressive representation while pursuing the best possible outcome for your case. Follow our Facebook page for more updates and information on Internet crimes.