Did you know that one of the fastest growing areas of the law involves the Internet? The reason why this area of law is rapidly growing is because of the wide variety of things that you can do over the Internet, including criminal activity.
If you have been charged with or are being investigated for committing a computer crime, please do not wait to contact one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys. We are ready to help you fight any computer crime charge. Call us today at (609) 616-4956.
When is Computer Activity a Crime?
You may think of criminal activity as something like when someone steals from the store, or when someone hits another person in an altercation. However, you may not be aware that criminal activity can occur through the use of computers and through the Internet. With today’s substantial entanglement with computers, it is impossible to think of a world without them. However, these tools can be used as the means to commit crimes. Criminal offenses over the computer encompass a substantially broad range of activities, but generally, a computer crime occurs when a person, purposefully and knowingly, and without authorization accesses or interferes with the data or with a computer system. More specifically, section 2C:20-25 of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice provides that:
- It is a third-degree crime for a person to access any data, computer storage medium, computer program or software, computer equipment, computer system, or computer network;
- It is a second-degree crime for a person to alter, damage, or destroy any data, computer storage medium, computer program or software, computer equipment, computer system, or computer network, or to deny, disrupt, or impair computer services, including access to any part of the internet, that are available to other users of the computer services;
- It is a third degree crime for a person to access or attempt to access any data, computer storage medium, computer program or 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, but the offense is upgraded to a second degree crime if the value of the services, property, personal identifying information, or money obtained exceeds $5,000;
- It is a third degree crime for a person to obtain, take, copy or use any data, computer program or software, personal identifying information, or other information stored in a computer, computer storage medium, or computer equipment, network or system, except that the offense is upgraded to a second degree crime if the data, computer program, software, or information:
Contains personal identifying information, medical diagnoses, treatments or other medical information concerning an identifiable person; or
Contains governmental records or other information that is protected from disclosure by law, court order or rule of court; or
Has a value exceeding $ 5,000
It is a fourth-degree crime for a person to access and recklessly alter, damage or destroy any data, computer storage medium, computer program or software, computer equipment, computer system, or computer network, except that it becomes a third-degree offense if the value of the damage exceeds $5,000.
As you can tell from the statutory language, any allegation of a computer crime can carry significant repercussions, sanctions, and even jail time.
Charges Related to Internet Sex Crimes in Wildwood
Out of all of the criminal activities a person can be accused of, being accused of or convicted of an Internet sex crime is one of the more serious offenses. In New Jersey, it is a criminal act to download or even access pornography depicting anyone who is under the age of 18. This is a very serious offense that not only carries significant jail time but also requires those convicted to register as a sex offender.
If you are charged with and convicted of accessing or distributing child pornography, you can be sentenced to a term in prison between 5 and 10 years for each act. Therefore, if you are charged with multiple counts of possessing, accessing, or distributing child pornography you could potentially face decades in prison. In addition to these lengthy prison sentences, the fines related to this crime can be very significant as well. If you are charged with possession of child pornography, then you can be charged with a $10,000 fine. Furthermore, if you are charged with distributing child pornography then you can be fined in excess of $250,000.
What are the Potential Penalties for other Computer Crimes?
As you can see the penalties associated with some computer crimes such as child pornography can be a very serious offense with very devastating penalties. However, child pornography charges are not the only computer crimes that can result in prison sentences as well as steep fines.
Computer crimes can be charged as either a fourth, third, second, or first-degree crime. This means that a person who is charged and convicted of certain cyber crimes may be sentenced to mandatory jail terms, as well as face significant fines, and even in some cases be required to register as a sex offender.
- 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
Contact a Wildwood Internet Crimes Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with an Internet or computer crime then you need an experienced and aggressive Atlantic City Criminal defense lawyer. To learn what the attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can do for you contact us today at (609) 616-4956.