Computer crimes include the physical and electronic possession or distribution of unlawful material.
Internet Crimes Defined
Internet crimes can include cyberbullying, cyberstalking including harassment via chats, email and other online platforms, the impersonation of another individual online such as identity theft. Additional crimes can include phishing scams, fraud, investment scams, credit card theft, online gambling, child pornography distribution or possession and trespassing via electronic access to user accounts of another individual.
Specifics of the most common forms of cybercrimes:
- Cyberstalking: using email, texts, instant messaging and social media networks to harass or frighten a person or with the intent to instill fear of harm
- Cyberbullying: the use of electronic communication such as email, texts, instant messaging and social media networks to threaten a person
Phishing Scams: seeking personal gains through fraudulent methods such as posing as an individual or company resulting in obtaining personal information to obtain payment or obtaining payment directly from the victim
Identity Theft: seeking personal gain through the utilization of a person’s private, self-identifying information
Illegal Child Pornography: knowingly producing, distributing, receiving or even possessing with an intent to distribute sexually explicit content of a minor (any individual under the age of 18)
Sentencing Guidelines for Degrees and Levels of Internet Crime
- Cyberstalking is a misdemeanor of the first degree which can include prison time up to five years and/or fines if this is a first time offense
- Third degree felonies including unlawful use of computers can carry consequences of up to seven years in prison including the possession of online child pornography or computer trespassing for personal gain
- Online harassment is a misdemeanor of the third degree and can carry up to one year in jail and/or fines
General Information about Internet Crime Charges
- Cybercrime offenders may have the ability to use lack of intent as a defense depending on the crime which can reduce or dismiss charges all togther
- If a cybercrime spans state lines, the charge will have implications as a federal crime
- Electronic possessions are subject to seizure by police, state or federal authorities and can lead to additional incrimination
Attorney Timothy Woodward has the experience you need to guide you throughout the legal process. With over 20 years of experience in the State of Pennsylvania while pursuing both state and federal criminal cases, Attorney Woodward brings the legal advice you need to help seek the best possible outcome for your case. For a consultation, please contact his office at (610) 279-1101 or through email.