Internet and computer crimes (cyber crimes) can include possession, distribution, fraud and intent as primary factors at felony and misdemeanor levels.
Internet Crimes Defined
Internet crimes can include cyberstalking, cyberbullying, impersonating another person online, identity theft, harassment, fraud, investment scams, credit card theft, gambling online, child pornography possession or distribution, fraudulent sale of items on the internet, phishing, and computer theft or trespass.
Some of the most common forms of cyber-crimes:
Cyberstalking: utilizing electronic communication such as email, texts and social media networks to harass or frighten a person
Cyberbullying: utilizing electronic communication such as email, texts and social media networks to threaten a person
Phishing scams: defrauding an individual by posing as a legitimate company and seeking funds that are electronically exchanged or information that will allow for the exchange
Identity theft: utilizing a person’s private, self-identifying information, typically for a financial gain
Illegal child pornography: includes 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)
Consequences, Degrees and Levels of Internet Crime
- A first time violation for cyberstalking is a misdemeanor of the first degree which can include prison time up to five years and/or fines
- Unlawful use of computers and e-mail, possession of online child pornography, computer trespass and computer theft are considered felonies of the third degree and can have consequences such as up to seven years in prison and/or fines
- Online harassment is a misdemeanor of the third degree and can carry up to one year in jail and/or fines
Things to Know for Internet Crime Charges
- Offenders charged with cyber crimes may have the ability to use lack of intent as a defense depending on the crime which if proven, their charges may be reduced or dismissed
- Cyber crimes frequently span state lines, creating complexity and elevation to a federal crime
- The seizure by police, state or federal authorities of electronics including computers, phones and tablets are areas that require in depth analysis by a knowledgeable attorney to ensure the protection of person property rights have been maintained
Attorney Maureen Coggins is confident she can assist with the legal issues facing you or your family. With over 20 years of experience with the State of Pennsylvania while pursuing both state and federal criminal cases, Attorney Coggins brings a diverse and successful background to help seek the best possible outcome for your case. For a consultation, please contact her office at (610) 400-3017 or through email.