Today’s society depends on cyberspace and computers to communicate, travel, pay bills, run business, and even provide government services. In the last twenty years, we’ve seen the introduction of numerous, new, and ambiguous internet laws that govern internet and computer fraud. These laws are constantly rewritten and established, which doesn’t allow people to get familiar with them.
Unfortunately, the use of file sharing, resale of used computers, and sophistication of cybercriminals and malware can easily associate you with a cybercrime, internet scam, or criminal conduct without you realizing it. Computer crimes and internet crimes are serious criminal charges in Pennsylvania which you shouldn’t face without a Lemoyne criminal defense lawyer on your side.
What Are the Potential Penalties for Internet Crimes/Cybercrimes in Pennsylvania?
Punishment can vary greatly depending on the particular crime. The best way you can know for sure what types of penalties to expect for a specific computer or cybercrime is to talk to an experienced Lemoyne cybercrimes lawyer.
Maximum Penalties for Computer Crimes in Pennsylvania
The penalties could include:
- Online harassment (misdemeanor)– up to one year in jail and fines of up to $2,500,
- Online stalking (misdemeanor)– up to five years in prison and maximum fines of $10,000,
- Computer theft (felony) – up to seven years in jail and fines of up to $15,000,
- Computer fraud (felony) – up to seven years in jail and fines of up to $15,000,
- Online child pornography (felony) – up to seven years in jail and fines of up to $15,000
Luckily, you have a number of ways to defend yourself from any of these charges. While the prosecution has the burden of proof to prove wrongdoing, you may be found guilty if you don’t defend yourself with the help of an experienced internet crime attorney in Cumberland County.
What Are the Possible Defenses Against Internet Crimes/Cybercrimes?
When a cybercrime has been committed on a computer, tablet, or smartphone, it is sometimes difficult to know who actually committed the crime. Such charges may be filed either at the state or federal level. There are several defenses an accused person can argue if they have formed a strategic and compelling case from an aggressive lawyer.
Many people are falsely accused of an internet crime because someone else used their computer, WiFi, or stole their identity. Cybercriminals often use this trick to cover their tracks, but you can also use that to absolve yourself from any wrongdoing.
Unlawful Search or Seizure
The Fourteenth Amendment prevents the Pennsylvania State Police from conducting illegal and unreasonable searches and seizures without warrants. So if the police raided your home and conducted a search and seizure without a warrant or probable cause, whatever evidence picked from your home would be inadmissible in court and can’t be used against you.
Miranda Rights Violations
You have a right to legal counsel and also the right not to say anything that could be used against you in court. The police must read to you the famously known Miranda warning before attempting to ask you any custodial questions.
If they failed to read your Miranda rights, and you went ahead and self-incriminated yourself, these statements may not be admissible in court. And if the prosecution team depends a lot on these statements to bring charges against you, they may end up with insufficient evidence, and your Pennsylvania cybercrime attorney may compel for a “not guilty” verdict.
Lack of Intent, Willfulness or Knowledge
Pennsylvania’s computer crime statutes demand evidence of a certain mental state in order to prove culpability. Without evidence showing that the accused acted willfully, with intent and knowledge, the prosecution may have a difficult time proving criminal culpability. The best way to use this key strategy is to employ an experienced Lemoyne internet crime attorney who can challenge the prosecution’s evidence of intent, willfulness, and knowledge.
Presence of Consent
Most cybercrimes hinge on a lack of consent. The prosecution will try to show that you accessed someone else’s computer system, login credentials, or data without authorization. But if you can show you had the owner’s consent or at least believed you had it, you might use it as a defense or use it to negotiate for lenient punishment.
What Is the Police Knock On My Door and Want to “Talk”?
When investigators become suspicious of someone, they often will pay them a visit and “ask some few questions.” Often, people will talk to them out of respect but end up incriminating themselves when asked questions that seem benign and innocent but are meant to link them to certain locations, timelines, or facts.
If you voluntarily give out incriminating information, the police will use it to help them charge you. But if you simply tell them you have to talk to your lawyer, they won’t keep bothering you with random visits.
Legal Guidance from A Skilled Representative Who Understands Technology
Cybercrimes are serious criminal charges with harsh penalties in Pennsylvania. Depending on the offense’s nature, you could be on the radar of federal agencies like the FBI and face federal criminal charges. That’s why you need a skilled Lemoyne criminal defense attorney with the experience of handling internet and computer crimes to protect your rights and freedom.
Taking action as soon as possible makes it possible to handle your case more effectively. Contact Lemoyne’s military criminal defense and cybercrimes attorney R. Davis Younts, Esq. to start building your defense right away. We have the ability to handle the extreme complexities involved in computer and cybercrimes, and the resources to battle the charges head-on.
Call us today at (717) 612-4840 to book a FREE cybercrime case review.