If you’ve been either victimized by some form of Internet crime, or if you’ve been accused of such an offense, a natural question is, what is the penalty for cyber crimes? The answer is a little complex because the actual penalties can be as varied as the types of crimes themselves. Let’s take a look at this modern-age issue in a little more detail.
WHAT IS CYBER CRIME?
Cyber crime is generally defined as any criminal offense that occurs through the use of the Internet or computer technology. Probably the first thing that comes to people’s minds is the act of hacking into a protected network online (known as a “cyberattack”) for the purpose of mining information, planting a virus, sabotage, etc. However, cyber crime encompasses a lot of other online offenses as well—including identity theft, wire fraud (and other types of Internet fraud), “phishing” scams (tricking people into giving personal information online), and more severe predatory practices such as child pornography. Many states have also begun passing laws against the practice of “cyber bullying,” which is use of the Internet to harass, persecute or threaten someone else.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES?
As you can see, there are many different types of cyber crimes, some more serious than others—so the penalties for conviction range widely based on what type of crime it is. Lesser offenses may result in small fines and possibly probation, while more serious crimes can mean hefty fines and up to 20 years in prison. In some states, certain cyber crimes resulting in theft of small amounts of money may be classified as misdemeanors, as well as some types of spamming or cyber bullying. However, more serious offenses such as child porn or luring minors for sex will always be treated as felonies, and most incidents of hacking are felonies under federal law.
If you are suspected or have been accused of cyber crime, you need an experienced criminal attorney who understands the nuances of the law as it applies to you. For expert legal counsel and representation, contact the
Federal Criminal Law Center today at 404.633.3797.