In today’s age, everyone is connected. This means more and more crimes are moving away from face-to-face crime, and are instead becoming internet-based offenses. From theft to harassment, many crimes have online versions that are just as serious (or more serious) than the traditional crime. There are also other crimes that happen almost exclusively online.
If you or a loved one was charged with a computer or internet crime in Utah, talk to an attorney today. Salt Lake City computer crimes defense lawyer Darwin Overson of Overson Law represents those accused of serious offenses throughout Utah. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (801) 758-2287.
Common Types of Cyber Crimes in Salt Lake City
“Cyber crimes” or “internet crimes” are not specific classifications of crime, but more a loose grouping of offenses that take use computers or the internet. Many internet crimes are actually regular crimes committed with the use of technology, instead. For instance, hacking someone’s bank account to transfer money to your own is a theft offense (along with other crimes), but is committed with a computer. However, the wrongful use of a computer may ultimately lead the judge to give a higher sentence or give the maximum sentence if they see the crime as more serious because of the computer element.
Common examples of internet crimes include:
- Child pornography distribution or possession
- Cyber harassment/cyberbullying
- Cyber terrorism
- Identity theft
Many of these crimes are state crimes in Utah, but some also have a federal counterpart. Both the federal government and the Utah State government can charge you with crimes for the same conduct if they each have a statute addressing the crime. Because of this, it is important to have an attorney fight the state criminal charges, rather than risk doubling your time in prison.
Our attorneys also represent defendants on federal criminal charges. The federal government has power to enforce criminal laws dealing with things it has power over – which includes the internet and cross-state communications. Using the internet to perpetrate a fraud, trade child pornography, or steal someone’s identity can constitute a serious federal offense. The federal government typically allows the states to handle smaller offenses, and only steps in on serious, wide-spread issues. Our attorneys may be able to persuade federal officials not to bring charges, leaving you only with the state charges to fight.
Penalties for Internet Crimes in Utah
Many internet crimes are felonies. Felonies are crimes that are punished with a potential of more than one year in prison, as opposed to misdemeanors, which carry up to one year in jail. Felonies vary widely in penalties, from 0 years (and a fine) to life in prison. Felonies are divided into multiple levels of offense, which carry the following penalties:
- First degree felonies carry 5 years to life in prison and fines up to $10,000.
- Second degree felonies carry 1-15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
- Third degree felonies carry 0-5 years in prison and fines up to $5,000.
Misdemeanors are less serious offenses, but can still carry harsh penalties and high fines. Many computer crimes that are simply digital versions of everyday crimes fall into this category. Utah divides misdemeanors into various classes, which carry the following penalties:
- Class A misdemeanors carry up to 1 year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
- Class B misdemeanors carry up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,000.
- Class C misdemeanors carry up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $750.
The criminal statute that defines the crime also states its classification and any other potential penalties. For instance, internet crimes that endanger children carry heightened penalties including sex offender registration and reporting. For cyberstalking, harassment, bullying, or other threatening behavior, the court may also limit or ban contact with the victim or their family.
Judges have broad powers to write terms of penalties beyond jail and prison sentences. Especially if you serve a term of probation, you may have strict limitations applied to your case after committing a computer crime. It is common for judges to issue complete bans, court-ordered monitoring, or limitations on computer use. Especially if you did serious financial harm or exploited a child by using a computer, a judge may ban you from owning certain devices or using the internet for a period of time that extends beyond your prison term.
Salt Lake City, UT Computer Crimes Lawyer Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was charged with a crime that involved the use of the internet or a computer, courts may see this as a more serious offense. Especially if the crime victimized children, such as possession of child pornography, you could be facing serious penalties including prison sentences and high fines. Talk to Darwin Overson of Overson Law today to understand how our strategic and experienced legal representation may be able to help you with your case. For your free consultation, contact our law offices today at (801) 758-2287.