What is Computer Crime?
Computer Crime is a type of crime that is classified as requiring, utilizing, and misuse of a computer or associated electronic networking system in order to commit illegal and unlawful acts. Computer crimes can range from the illegal use of the internet to the unlawful accessing of information stored in the computer terminal of another individual. Due to the expansiveness, as well as the relative modernity of the computer age, the legality surrounding cybercrime is not considered to be fully developed. New laws and legislation are in constant evolution with regard to Computer Crime.
Computer Crime Offense Profile
1. Legal Jurisdiction: Cyber Law
2. Type of Crime: Misdemeanor or Felony – varies upon case details
3. Criminal Code: Varies upon the location of the crime, including the applicable country, nation, state, or province
4. Range of Punishment(s): Fines, Probation, Internet Banning, or Incarceration – varies upon case details
5. Duration of Punishment(s): Varies upon case details
6. Applicable Punishment(s): Varies upon individual intent, criminal record, criminal history, and the time of the crime. However, cases involving child pornography, the corruption of a minor, or endangering the welfare of a minor through the usage of a computer can result in the mandatory registration in a sex offender database.
7. Associated Offenses and Subgenres:
a. Data Theft: The illegal possession of information, data, or records belonging to another individual or entity through the use of a computer.
b. Cyber terrorism: The purposeful engagement in the damaging, takeover, or hijacking of a computational system belonging to another individual or entity.
c. Child Pornography: The participation, disbursement, production, or sale of illegal sexual material of an explicit nature involving a minor.
d. Computer Fraud: The unlawful disbursement of unsecured and fraudulent documentation with the intent to scam, trick, or steal. This includes phishing, spam, and malware.
e. Illegal Downloading: The unlawful possession of intellectual property belonging to another individual or entity through the use of a computer. This includes peer-to-peer sharing and illegal file-sharing.
f. Cyber-based Copyright Infringement: The unlawful use, possession, or distribution of intellectual property obtained through illegal means.
The Arrest Process for Computer Crime Charges
In the event that the prospect exists in which an individual is at risk for or has been arrested as a result of a Computer Crime charge, it is of the utmost importance that they are aware and mindful of the basic legality associated with the criminal justice system. Individuals who have been served documentation in the form of an arrest warrant displaying a Computer Crime, or have been arrested by law enforcement, are encouraged to cooperate with the arresting officers regardless of personal belief with regard to the charges.
Individuals under arrest will be given the opportunity to consult with legal specialists subsequent to the arrest process. Resisting or fleeing from a Computer Crime arrest can result in harm, injury, and additional penalties. Upon arrest, an individual should be made aware of the following in order to prevent any further complication(s):
Due Process with regard to a Computer Crime Charge
In the United States, due process is defined as the Government’s obligation to respect, maintain, and uphold the legal rights of its citizen in the event of an arrest. The Government must retain an individual’s human rights and liberties. This includes fair, respectful, and ethical treatment devoid of undue violence and harm.
Habeas Corpus with regard to a Computer Crime Charge
Subsequent to an arrest resulting from a Computer Crime charge, the notion of habeas corpus entitles all individuals to the right to a trial in a court of law. In addition, each individual is granted the right to legal representation. Pertinent details regarding any Computer Crime allegation should be discussed with a defense attorney.
The Presumption of Innocence
In the event that an individual is arrested as a result of a Computer Crime charge, criminal law within the United States maintains the innocence of that individual unless they are found guilty within a court of law or they have admitted guilt on their own accord.
Upon the arrest for a Computer Crime charge, this is the standard arrest protocol that must be upheld by any and all arresting officers. Miranda Rights include the Fifth Amendment, which states that an individual retains the right to remain silent in order to avoid incriminating themselves. This is also known as ‘pleading the Fifth’. In addition, Miranda Rights also guarantee the following rights with regard to an arrest:
• The right to remain silent
• The right for any words spoken during the arrest to be admissible during a trial
• The right to consult with an attorney regardless of financial stature
• The acknowledgement that the individual arrested for the Computer Crime charge understands the aforementioned rights.
The Preparation of Computer Crime Defense
In the event that an individual has been arrested on a Computer Crime charge, they are encouraged to observe the behavioral protocol of the arrest process. Individuals are encouraged to consult with attorneys specializing in criminal law and, if possible, those who focus on Cyber Crime legality. In the construction of a defense, the individual may be asked to provide the following:
• A subpoena of all computers and networks belonging to that individual
• Any previous arrests and/or convictions
• Evidence and witness testimony
• A detailed account of the details surrounding the event in question
• The inclusion of the name(s) of individuals involved
• The arrangement for bail or bond – if available
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