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What Are the Best Defenses Against Felony Computer Crimes?

As the use of technology in daily life has risen over the years, so has the use of technology to commit crimes. Computer crimes and cybercrimes are a prominent issue in our society. People with extraordinary skills behind a keyboard can access private information, deploy malware, and harass other users. Read more to learn about the best defenses you and your attorney can use during your computer crimes case and speak with a Red Bluff criminal lawyer to obtain representation.

What Are Computer Crimes?

Computer crimes or cybercrimes are any type of illegal activity that a person commits over the internet or with the use of a computer/technology. Congress passed an act outlining many federal cybercrimes, called the CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act). The following are some examples of computer crimes that a person can be convicted of under this act.

  • Hacking
  • Identity theft
  • Child pornography
  • Money laundering
  • Phishing
  • Credit card fraud
  • Stalking and harassment
  • Accessing restricted information
  • Extortion
  • Spread of viruses or malware

Cybercrime is a widespread epidemic and criminals can use technology to commit crimes from anywhere. They are protected by distance and anonymity which can make it more difficult to identify and prosecute them.

What Are the Penalties for Computer Crimes in California?

California law is strict regarding computer crimes. Depending on the specific crime you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Cybercrime charges may be prosecuted at a state or federal level depending on the circumstances of the situation. A person convicted can face fines, prison time, punitive damages, community service, and more.

To show the severity of the penalties, take the unauthorized access of a computer for example. As a misdemeanor, a charge could result in fines of up to $5,000, a year in a county jail, and probation. As a felony, the same crime will carry a punishment of fines of up to $10,000, up to 3 years of imprisonment, and probation.

Depending on the specific cybercrime you committed and the extent of the loss you caused you may be charged with similar penalties or face more severe consequences. The details of your case and your prior criminal history will also play a part in your sentencing.

What Defenses Can I Use During My Case?

You need a lawyer to represent you in your computer crime case. Without a skilled attorney, you face the full extent of the law, but with their help, you could get your charges reduced or even dismissed. Finding a solid defensive strategy is vital in pleading your case. Explain the details of your situation to your attorney. They can evaluate the situation and determine which defense will work best for you. The following are some defenses that have proven successful in cybercrime cases.

  • Mistaken identity
  • Unlawful search and seizure
  • Entrapment
  • Lack of intent
  • You were allowed to access the information
  • Lack of evidence

Any of the above, or more, could be effective if used correctly in your case. For example, if you truly did not commit the crime you are being accused of your lawyer could argue mistaken identity. You might’ve been falsely identified or your IP address could have been falsely flagged as the perpetrator’s. Work with your attorney to determine a defensive tactic that makes the most sense and will help you get your charges dismissed or lessened.