It is hard to imagine a world without the internet and computers. Indeed, almost every aspect of our lives is connected in some way to a computer and the internet. However, some may or may not be aware that you can commit a crime over the internet. Internet crimes are some of the most aggressively pursued and prosecuted crimes that a person can commit.
If you have been accused of committing a cybercrime do not wait to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our team of lawyers understands the complicated and often intricate issues involved in computer crimes.
What Activities Qualify as a Computer Crime in Cape May?
While most people think of crimes as those you directly commit against another person, as in as an assault or battery, however, crimes that occur over the Internet or through the use of a computer can be just as serious. Although it may be somewhat obvious when a crime has occurred outside of the digital world, crimes over the computer may not be as clear-cut, which unfortunately, leads to charges being improperly filed against a party who may have had nothing to do with the matter. Generally, a person is guilty of computer criminal activity if the person purposely or knowingly and without authorization, or in excess of authorization:
- Accesses any data, data base, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software, computer equipment, computer, computer system or computer network;
- Alters, damages or destroys any data, data base, computer, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software, computer system or computer network, or denies, disrupts or impairs computer services, including access to any part of the Internet, that are available to any other user of the computer services;
- Accesses or attempts to access any data, data base, computer, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software, computer equipment, computer system or computer network for the purpose of executing a scheme to defraud, or to obtain services, property, personal identifying information, or money, from the owner of a computer or any third party;
- Obtains, takes, copies or uses any data, data base, computer program, computer software, personal identifying information, or other information stored in a computer, computer network, computer system, computer equipment or computer storage medium; or
- Accesses and recklessly alters, damages or destroys any data, data base, computer, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software, computer equipment, computer system or computer network.
Prosecutors have become notorious for being overly aggressive in these matters, and are known to seek stringent penalties for defendants.
Cape May Charges for Identity Theft on the Computer
Identity theft is a common charge, and you may be surprised to find that the charges for identity theft comprise more activity than you might have thought. A charge of identity theft can result from a wide variety of actions, including more serious offenses such as if you are accused of using another persons’ or a stranger’s social security or credit card number. However, identity theft can also result from more minor actions and offenses as well, such as if you use your friend’s credit card, or even telephone card. The law provides that it’s a disorderly person offense to do any of the following:
- Impersonate someone else or assumes a false identity for the purpose of obtaining a benefit or to injure or defraud another;
- Pretend to be a representative of some person or organization for the purpose of obtaining a benefit or to injure or defraud another;
- Impersonate someone else, assume a false identity, or make a false or misleading statement regarding someone else’s identity for the purpose of obtaining services;
- Obtain any personal identifying information pertaining to another person and use that information in order to assume his identity, with the purpose to fraudulently obtain a benefit, avoid the payment of a debt, or avoid prosecution for a crime; or
- Impersonate someone else or assume a false identity with the purpose of avoiding payment for prior services.
Even though identity theft is considered to be a disorderly persons offense, it can still have very serious implications for your future.
Penalties and Consequences for Computer Crimes
Even though computer crimes may be relatively new in the world of criminal law, this does not mean that the penalties are relaxed or even lenient. Not only can you be charged on the state level for a computer crime, but you can also be charged federally for many computer related crimes. This means that in addition to the penalties below you may be sanctioned by other courts with different consequences. In New Jersey you can be charged with either a fourth, third, second, or first-degree computer crime. The penalties for a computer crime in Cape May can include:
- Mandatory jail terms – if a person is convicted of a second-degree crime will face a mandatory jail term of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed. In addition, if the victim of the internet crime is a government agency, there is a mandatory jail term of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed
- Monetary fines – Under New Jersey law, the sentences and fines for crimes are typical as follows:
Fourth-degree crime – up to 18 months imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines
Third-degree crime – 3 to 5 years imprisonment and up to $15,000 in fines
Second-degree crime – 5 to 10 years imprisonment and up to $150,000 in fines
First-degree crime – 10 to 20 years imprisonment and up to $200,000 in fines
- Mandatory registration under Megan’s Law – If you are charged and convicted of a crime involving sex and the internet, you may be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s law. Registration can have a serious impact on your life and future, as it can make it hard to find housing, exclude you from government programs, and even impact your ability to get a job.
Contact an Experienced Cape May Internet Crimes Defense Attorney Today
If you have been charged with an internet or computer crime then you need an experienced and aggressive Cape May criminal defense lawyer. To learn what the Cape May criminal attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can do for you contact us today at (609) 616-4956.